Skip to main content

Fun with Video

Video has always been a tricky medium. Kids are excited by the prospect of making a movie, but most of them don't realize all of the factors at play until it well into the project. Creating a strong video requires strong writing, set design, costume design, performance, awareness of camera placement for a strong visual composition of the frame as well as optimal mic placement and editing. The editing can be particularly complex and while most students are aware that a green screen can be used to replace a background, they are often unaware of how it works and consequently fail to shoot their footage properly.

This year I tried a new strategy in my approach to video. I challenged my fifth-grade students to make video adaptations of popular picture books. This approach helped to eliminate some of the stumbling blocks such as writing, which I don't have time to teach in the one hour per week I spend with students. By providing a picture book as a starting point, students had a script and storyboard so they could imagine not only what the story is, but what it might look like. Of course, I say an adaptation of a picture book because I always want my students to feel free to put their own ideas and personality into their work. As a side benefit, after students selected a book, I found that they seemed freer to ham it up and give a more expressive performance. Because they weren't performing material they had written, students seemed less self-conscious.

In approaching videos, my recommendation is to accept from the start, that special effects will not be perfect. The simple truth is that if you are going to be unreal, it is better to be way off than just slightly off. By embracing the fake, you can disguise the flaws and limitations of equipment, time and the classroom environment. The unreal can be a stylistic choice and if played up properly, it can make the feature more charming. For example, instead of using the green screen effect to put a photograph in the background, I encourage kids to put a drawing in the background. Putting live actors into a cartoon style world seems cool and impressive.
     

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Do I Really Wanna Know

As my school year winds down, I try to take a little time to reflect on my year. I try to do this while things are still fresh. Things are so fresh in fact, I still have another week and a half left in school. While this time of year is crazy and so many kids are checked out, i thought it might be nice to get feedback from students on all of the changes i have made this year. Of course when I think of all the work I've put into those changes, the natural question becomes "do I really want to know students opinions?" The natural answer all of us are taught to say is yes, of course we want feedback from all stakeholders and students should have a say in their education. Of course that sounds good in theory, but in practice, it can be much harder. Realistically, it is hard not to take it personally when a kid says they don't like the system you set up. I wouldn't want to gather data as a show of valuing student opinions while they feel pressure to compliment me, so …

My First Post!

Welcome to my elementary art blog. I will be posting various lesson plans and resources used for teaching k-5 Art. Check back regularly as I intend to update this weekly with videos and other resources that help in my classroom and they can help in yours too.

One thing that has been transformative in my teaching is video demonstrations of key skills. I started making videos after coming to the realization that when I did a live demonstration of clay or origami, half the class could not actually see what I was doing. By recording video, I could project it larger so kids could see better, but I also found that it freed me up to focus on my students and my instruction better. I no longer had to worry about the creation of a sample project, I could simply focus on the explanation while also looking at my students to find signs of confusion, anticipate problems etc. If you have not flipped your art room, I highly recommend it.

In addition to the relative ease of direct instruction, creatin…

Big Change for 2019

For quite a while, I have read about TAB and choice based art ed. There is a lot that appeals to me with the theory but I have never seen a structure that I felt would work for me in my classroom. In the weeks leading up to winter break, I started thinking more and more about gamifying the classroom. I decided to take the plunge and so now my 1st-5th grade students will have a range of choices but with clear structures and support to make it manageable.
I decided to utilize Google slides as a means of managing the game. It is free and a slide deck can provide secure, personalized communication between me and the students. I started by setting up a template. My slide deck has the rules of the game, a slide to track badges they earn and then numerous slides of challenges students can complete in order to earn a badge. The beauty is that since slides can have links, my challenge slides can have the learning targets then a picture of a sample project that would hit the targets. I make th…