Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Great Movie Project Year 2

Last year all Grade 8 students chose groups and created student movies. 
the project was based on the student videos created at Maybry School in Georgia.  The students  chose the topics, they did this work on their time and it was a success. It is time to reflect on the successes and failures of that project.  Why you ask? Simply because it is about to begin again and changes and tweeks will be made from our experiences last year.

Things that worked
  • Topics The Students really liked the wide variety of topics available.  The whole idea of the project was to have students become aware of issues in the world and locally that were important to them.  Once they found a topic that was interesting to them they had to try to "Make a Difference". 
  • Student Presentations To start the project off we had the students prepare presentations for the rest of the school.  They were to give presentations about a variety of charities that the grade 8 students and the student council had chosen to take donations for.  All the 8's made posters and pamphlets talking about the charities and one group of students from each of the 4 rooms made presentations to the rest of the school.

816 Charity
View more documents from spmath.

  • Google Documents The ability for students to work at home and collaborate on the same document was brilliant.  Each group created a Google Presentation and each group member took control of different slides.  They also invited their homeroom teacher and myself to the presentation so we could see progress and add our 2 cents to the mix.  If there is one thing that I would suggest to anyone doing a project like this is to build in these collaborative tools.  The kids were more productive because they could participate with each other at home at the same time. We pushed the limits of collaboration when we created 2 Google presentations as notetaking devices for a movie on Child Labour we had been watching.  Over 30 kids were collaborating at one time in the lab.  Google Docs is a must for any teacher

  •  Pay it Forward Over the Christmas break we expected the students to do an activity that was similar in nature to the movie Pay It Forward. Students were expected to do a random act of kindness over the break.  They had to write about it at their blog.
  • Awards Presentation Having the students chose winners was motivating for the students.  As teachers we decided on the 6 movies that would be in the award categories but the students decided who won the "prize".  It gave them ownership over the finished project.
Things that need to change
  • timing We started this project before Christmas last year.  The goal was to have the project done before our Student Led Conference in April.  That did not materialize.  Movies were not done until the beginning of June.  To allow for speedier editing and to allow students to complete the movies on time this year the team has booked a pod of laptops from the division.  During February to April this year the students will have a set of laptops and other equipment to complete the primary production on their movies.
  • more time for editing You could really see the lack of editing on some of the videos. The students just did one draft and did not spell check, edit pictures and well..... just slapped something together.  This year the students will spend more time of editing and will be taught more techniques about successful movie making. 
  • post a first draft and a final production More student evaluation and feedback is needed.  We will use your youtube channel to put up the drafts of the movies and elicit feedback.  Based on the feedback students will be able to improve their movies.
  • music Students often chose music that was non CC.  This caused many problems.  Audio tracks were wiped by Youtube when their spiders determined that copy write had been broken.  This year I will find sites where you are able to use CC sanctioned music.  Less Itunes more ambient sound to get the idea across.
  • Teamwork  A different goal of this project was to bring my other team members into the blogging "read write web" universe.  This met with limited success.  I seemed to be the go to guy all the time.  Most of my other team members seemed reluctant to use these tools and learn how they could transform their teaching at the same time.  It was not a total loss though.  Two team members are game to try this again and students and teachers will once again be making movies at Sargent Park School.

If you are looking to try a project like this please contact me  or use these helpful links:
  1. Sargent Park Mathzone The grade 8 blog hub where instructions for the project were given.  This link houses all posts with the label 2minutes.
  2. Make it Interesting My personal blog where reflections on the project are housed.  This is the link with 2minutes attached to it.
  3. Sargent Park Wiki One of my school sites where the project was hosted.  It is not add free anymore so the information will be moving soon.
  4. Maybry Online The inspiration to get the whole project. Met Dr. Tyson at a PD event and from there a kernel grew into a whale of an idea.
  5. 50 Ways to tell a story Simply one of the best sites explaining the different ways to use the web to tell a story.  A must for storytellers.


dkuropatwa said...

I love the scope and scale of this project. You guys did some fantastic work last year, I also like the way you're building on and learning from the experiences of last year.

I particularly appreciate the transparent way you share all this.

I recently started following Charles Tsai on Slideshare. You may find his presentations valuable to your students in this project.

Mr. H said...

Thanks for the comment Darren. I am looking to include perhaps some pre comm students from Red River this year to act as advisers for some of the kids.... We will see what happens.

The project went well and will do even better this year.

Thanks again