I'm doubling up again today!
It's Day 22 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge, started by Two Writing Teachers. I am writing around the theme topic of "What I Know For Sure." (See Day 1 for a full explanation.)
Margaret Simon hosts a Sunday Link Up for posts about digital literacy at her blog to challenge us to share our technology journeys.
A little over two years ago, I read a blog post by my PLN friend, David Etkin, about his student-made Animoto book trailers. I loved it so much, I reached out to him in the comments (along with several other people), asking to borrow his ideas. He didn't hesitate - he sent his storyboard templates and other resources right away. This, I soon came to realize, is typical of David, and also started an online/Twitter/blogging collaboration that eventually led to #ReadWalkWater (which I'll write about in a future SOLSC post this upcoming week).
That year, I did the project for the first time, and it was a rousing success. My fourth graders at the time (I now have them in 6th grade), made book trailers over their civil rights-related historical fiction novels. The project is chronicled here. Augusta Scattergood even featured the one a pair of students made on Glory Be on her own blog!! They seriously thought they were famous for a day!
I decided to do the same project this year with my current 5th graders who just finished small group books over the theme topic, JOURNEY. They all read fantasy books - I was so excited to introduce a group to Harry Potter for the first time - they had never read the series!!! Now, one of them has blown through the entire 7 books in less than a month, and the rest are working their way through - my job is done! Ha.
We started working on and completing the storyboards right before PARCC testing. It was a great way to engage them in authentic learning right beforehand! We start by watching many professional mentor book trailers and making a list of characteristics of what they include - main character's traits, setting, main conflict, maybe a minor conflict, images, music that fits the tone/mood of the book, persuasive techniques that invite the viewer to read the book, no climax or ending, etc. They choose to work alone or in pairs.
This year I also did a lesson on responsible image use. I had recently read an excellent DigiLit blog post by Cathy Mere that I used in the lesson. She has a website she created for the kids with several safe sites on which to find images that don't infringe on copyright and that are safe for kids. Then they fill out and cut out text panels that fit Animoto's character limitations and design and sketch in image ideas on those panels. They cut them out, arrange them in the sequence they want them, and glue them down in order on a larger posterboard. Then I give them their individual passwords (it's easy to set up an educational account for your students) to start the project. I go over a few of the tips and techniques about Animoto on the Promethean Board, and off they go!
On Friday a few kids finished up and published their trailers:
THE GRIMM LEGACY
PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS
THE GRIMM LEGACY
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE
What I Know For Sure: Because technology is changing and emerging so quickly, our Professional Learning Network is more vital than ever. Even the fact that technology itself expands our PLN is fascinating! By entering the Twitter, blogging, and Facebook world, you have access to free professional development at your fingertips. Because of the generosity and knowledge of people like David, Margaret who hosts this DigiLit meme, the folks at Two Writing Teachers who host the SOLSC, and Cathy (and many more), I am a better teacher. We can not do this profession alone. Collaboration is key!