Thank you, Twitter! Once again, I have seen the power of networking to help me solve problems outside of my own four walls. While working with Miss Meuser's fourth grade class, we wanted their immigration research to come alive and result in a newscast where students would research, write scripts, practice, film and edit their work. However, we didn't want to incur any cost by having to purchase an app for the iPad. And as we were using the iPads, the green screen feature for iMovie wasn't an option.
So, we put the problem out on Twitter. Jonathan Wyler from the Grant Wood AEA in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, suggested we film in Touch Cast (free) and then edit with iMovie.
The suggestion worked perfectly. We created new screencasts in Touch Cast and utilized a green screen effect for the background. Students had preselected images that correlated with the scenes in their script to allow their potential viewers to feel like they were at Ellis Island, back in their homeland, on the Stairs of Separation and boarding the ship to America. Once filming was completed, the entire project was compressed into one video and imported into iMovie. Students are currently working on adding titles, music and themes.
Their movies underscore the importance of giving students time. The deadlines of curriculum frameworks and units often force us to hurry. The deadlines prevent in depth research and most importantly, the editing process that results when quality feedback is given by the teacher.
Quality work takes TIME. Time to locate and gather new learning. Time to learn the format for writing and rewriting. Time to make the changes that teachers and peers suggest. Time to collaborate with the team. Time to practice lines and film. Time to edit. When we reflect on the end product, students are able to see that their skill set has grown in many areas. It wasn't just a matter of 'making an iMovie'. They are now stronger researchers, writers, editors, actors, collaborators, thinkers and problem solvers. May we continue to give students the opportunity to Play with Purpose.
is an instructional technology coach for the Pleasant Valley School District. As a dreamer, teacher, librarian and reader, she looks for ways to help students find their voice and connect with others. @hopewelllibrary