The final project for this course was done early in the course. If I only knew then what I know now! We had a weekend course with Andrew Churches and Kim Cofino. As a big part of the weekend we worked in groups to develop a visual media project. David wanted to create a movie trailer with his students using iMovie. That sounded interesting and fun. My students had begun our author study on Jan Brett and they would soon be performing several of Jan’s stories as readers theater productions.
David and I spent time on Saturday and Sunday creating a movie trailer that told about our Coetail weekend at YIS. It can be viewed here. It was interesting when I showed this to my class, the first reaction of many was “This is going to be scary.” When I asked why and assured them it wasn’t. They replied, “Because of the music.”
We had about 2 weeks until the performances and so we had to move quickly. (I know that next year it will be a slower and more scaffolded process.) There are 22 students in my class and each student was in 2 plays. I had divided the students into 5 groups with each group responsible for creating the backdrop for one play. Now each of those groups had a second responsibility to follow the prescribed storyboard and create a movie trailer. Some of the groups were able to finish their backdrop more quickly and begin working on the storyboard and trailers.
We were not familiar with a storyboard except for one time with writing a story. Next year we will use storyboards more often. I would like to make a storyboard that will be easier for the students to use.(There are several formats on iMovie but the students need exposure to various types of storyboards and more space to write.) The students were encouraged to set up the shots and take the videos. Some groups did a much better job of this than other groups.
I know that next year we will begin working with video taping much earlier. The students have had opportunities to use the camera, but not necessarily videotaping. I have since started sending home our class mascots Brisky Bear or Bubblez the clown fish, a camera and notebook with students each week and then other students on the weekend. Next year we will begin sending them home earlier in the year and practice more with the cameras.
We have done readers theater performances before and students evaluated themselves, but we will practice and look at how our faces and bodies convey messages more carefully. We will hopefully begin the storyboard and taping of the movie trailer a bit earlier in the process so that we are not completing it the day before the performances. This year was a learning experience for the students and for me. The parents who came to the performance got to see the trailers before the actual plays and they are posted on our classroom blog for students and parents to view. Although David and I created a rubric for the trailer/process, because of the short time we had this year and lack of preparation, I didn’t feel it fair to try to grade the students. I know they all enjoyed watching the performances and learned some new camera and collaboration skills. The parents also enjoyed the movie trailers. I have also learned a lot about what I want to do next year. The students were able to help with some of the editing although it was difficult to give all the groups the same help, time, and guidance.
Here are the movie trailers that my students made, with some help.
Here is the “unit plan” for the movie trailer – This is just part of the Jan Brett Unit.
Learning Targets –
- DT4.2.01 I make creative products and presentations
- RL4.2.05 I use my work time wisely
- PC 3.2.01 I can collaborate productively with my classmates.
Essential questions –
- What are the powerful elements of expressive drama?
- How can we use the elements to improve our performances?
- How can we use drama to help us express ourselves?
Essential Understandings –
- Effective communication usually combines different elements such as confidence, creativity and cooperation
- My facial and body movements add to the meaning of what I am reading and saying and/or dramatizing.
- Jan Brett books – The Umbrella, The Mitten, The Hat, The Three Little Dassies, Town Mouse Country Mouse
- Students will use their faces and bodies to dramatize the story.
- Students will use a camera to take video clips of other classmates performing.
- Students will use a storyboard to plan and create the movie trailer.
- Scripts for Jan Brett plays
- Student created backdrops for the plays
- Masks from Jan Brett’s website for the characters
- Jan Brett website – http://www.janbrett.com/index.html
- Video camera
- iLife 11 movie trailers – The Adventure Movie allows for the most characters to be named
Your task is to create a movie trailer for your readers’ theater performance that will make your fellow students and parents want to come to see your performance.
|Criteria||Oscar Nominee||Hollywood Star||Celebrity||Amateur|
|Use of storyboard||Every shot was planned before the shoot. The wording matches the shots.||Most of the shots are planned before the shoot. Most of the wording in the trailer matches with the shots.||Some of the shots are planned before the shoot. Some of the wording in trailer matches with the shots.||Did not plan the shots before the shoot. The wording does not match with the shots.|
|Appropriate video clips||The clips are the appropriate length.||Most of the clips are the appropriate length.||Some of the clips are the appropriate length.||The clip lengths are random.|
|Creativity||Your trailer has consistently creative points to interest your audience.||Your trailer has many creative points that helps to interest your audience.||Your trailer has some creative points that helps to interest your audience.||Your trailer rarely has creative points that helps to interest your audience.|
|You and your team discussed decisions and consistently worked together||You and your team worked well together most of the time.||You and your team worked well together sometimes.||You and your team had many disagreements and difficulty working together.|