Thursday, September 23, 2010

Macro Theatre Project

I did this project with my students in CPT (computer class) 2 years ago and they really enjoyed it. I call it Macro Theatre. I have my students use a digital camera with video capability (macro setting), and have them film an audio/video story that they have created themselves. The students write and create a "local legend" or re-create an existing legend story, and they find pictures/draw their own pictures/take their own pictures to represent the events in the story. These are used to show the actions of the legend as it is being read. Confused? I know, it seems complicated but the process is easy and the end result is really fun. I have the students choose a backdrop to do this on, and one/two student(s) are the 'picture movers' and the one or more students tell the legend like a story. All the audience sees is the pictures on a backdrop/background and can only hear the characters/narrator's voice. 

The point is to have students work more behind the camera while creating a fun tale! Many students do not like to be in front of a camera, and this is a great way for them to be involved and feel like they were really part of something great. I have had a great reception from this assignment and I am super excited to try it again this year.

This concept can be applied to ANY subject area or ANY topic you want. I have seen students create a biology video using the same method to have them explain a concept they just learned or researched - it sure beats the old "create me a poster and present it" assignment!

My hopes this year, are to try to use an audio overlay instead of just relying on the audio from the digital camera, which can be muffled during the best of scenarios. I am also looking into using some sort of program to insert action sounds instead of the students using onomatopoeia like "BANG" when a gun goes off. I am still looking...any ideas for these programs? Free preferably.

Here is the videos my students did last time....



Thursday, September 16, 2010

Finding Balance During Infusion Process

Ever wonder if you are truly trying your hardest? I have had a few days like this lately - wondering if I am trying hard enough to give my students enough technology infused lessons. I tend to give many computer-based projects but am I really stretching their imaginations, their limits, their skills and abilities in the world of technology? Even though I am met with resistance from kids when they have to do something a bit more complex, that involves trying hard (imagine that - kids complaining about critical thinking lol), I still believe and KNOW that the purpose of the assignment and what I am asking of them is not a hard task and although they may not enjoy troubleshooting, hopefully they will enjoy the process after troubleshooting works, and the end result.

"CAN I DO MORE???!!!"
I think many times that my classroom (as technology-enabled as I can make it at the moment), is never quite good enough for what I want to teach and what I want them to learn. There is a bulk content that they need to get from the curriculum but apart from the few traditional ways and things I need to teach (i.e. essay writing), there really isn't anywhere that says I MUST teach this concept in THIS way only. Being creative can be a hard enough task in and of itself when you are trying to stay valid and keep up with the new programs. The idea of a Flat Classroom is something I am really interested in - intrigued by if nothing else. So how do we make this possible? A teacher is limited in certain ways - I know many bloggers out there don't want to believe it - but we are. Not all of us make enough money to just buy supplies for technology out of our own pockets, not all of us are able to access money from our division, or budget that allows us to buy more technological items, and not all of us are ready to throw down the walls of our classroom (just yet).

I am open to learning, excited to try new things and infuse technology everywhere, but sometimes I feel like my life can not just revolve around technology 24/7. Sometimes I need a break - sometimes I need to just read a good book and smell the smell of it (you know what I mean). I get overloaded with my google reader and my email and facebook, and news feeds, and teaching articles and blogs. I always think back to Rob Wall's session at iT Summit called "mark all as read" - I really enjoy this concept. On my google reader every morning I have had about 15 new things to read and truth be told, I don't want to read it. Oh the content is great, but I just don't have the time, or the mental effort to feel like I should be doing more (like I have been talking about this whole time). Where does your sanity end? How far can you be pushed? I enjoy my day just as much a lot of times when I click "mark all as read" and don't even bother checking anything out! Is that bad?