Wow! Week one has already flown by! Granted, it was a short week crammed with getting-back-into-school business. Regardless! It absolutely flew by.
We started a unit called “The Door Scene” today, and it’s all about kids creating a film that builds suspense around hearing a noise and being locked out of a room. The kids always love this unit, but I also feel so much more confident teaching it than I have in the past. Today the kiddos selected their roles (I don’t assign them), and then they did a trial run of the filming process to ensure that they understand the directions and can ask any questions they have. When we return to school on Tuesday, our technology integrator will be giving a mini-lesson on how to consider perspective and camera angles to help build suspense in the video. This film project is supposed to help students grasp the concept of writing exactly what they mean and how they mean it. It’s easy and common for students to have a great idea in their heads but not articulate them on paper. This process helps break down, to the very fundamental level, how to write what they visualize. Plus, it helps that the kids absolutely LOVE the technology and social aspects of this project. Students who haven’t been engaged in class yet were thrilled to start this project!
One element that I love is that there are three very different dynamic roles to this process: the director, the actor/actress, and the filmer. Natural leaders and outspoken individuals gravitate towards being the director, while the actors and actresses are usually the students who want to shine and aren’t afraid of what their classmates think of them. Then, the filmer is the type of student who is a quiet leader and enjoy being in supportive roles. There is an important and very authentic role for all types of learners, just as there should be in any and every unit.
After the students worked the kinks out in the trial run of the filming, we spent the remainder of class reflecting. Did they meet the objective of building suspense? Did they follow the instructions in order of how the film is supposed to progress? Did they stay within the parameters? It was a healthy discussion that encouraged the students to really evaluate themselves as a group, and then they wrote down their thoughts as a group to ensure that they can execute the film more smoothly after their mini-lesson helping to spark creativity.
I’m really excited to find natural ways to incorporate collaboration, creativity, innovation, discussion, revision, and reflection into this unit. The kids are engaged and productive, and they are creating some brilliant work. Stay tuned for how these films progress!