Thursday, February 21, 2013

Connecting Standards Through Student Projects

A few weeks ago I walked into Jeanne Feeney's technology classroom and saw the following scene.

No...those are marionette strings.

Using Lego Super Heroes MovieMaker, Google Drive, and iMovie Jeanne's class developed their own digital media and literacy skills while also creating videos with an important social message.

For this project the students were studying a video genre called stop-motion animation where creators produce videos by snapping images one frame at a time.  Between frames they move the characters arms, legs, or heads and edit them together with audio to create a short video.  This type of production really forces students to slow down and think about the narrative they are constructing image by image.  Cartoon animators use a very similar process.

In the past, stop-motion videos have been challenging to create because the process required each group to have a digital camera, a tripod, and the ability to painstakingly line up shots.  I tried it once in my own classroom and thought, "I will never do this again!" It took forever! However, today many of our students come to school with devices that include a camera.  With the addition of a free app like Lego MovieMaker that helps you line up shots by creating shadows of the previous image on your screen these devices become great stop-motion tools that speed up the process.

The Lego MovieMaker app does have one downside - users cannot add their own audio narrations.  However, if students transfer the video from their mobile devices to a computer using the Google Drive app they can add narrations using iMovie.  This is exactly what Jeanne's students did.  Working in groups of 2-3 students they created the video on a mobile device using Lego MovieMaker, transfered the file with the Google Drive app, and then brought the footage into iMovie to add their own narrations.  Along the way they also created storyboards, wrote scripts, and rehearsed their spoken parts multiple times.

From a standards or learning goals perspective this unit is quite interesting.  In one series of lessons that are part of a technology elective, students are demonstrating the Natomas Charter School ESLRs while also developing multiple content-area, technology, and life-long skills.

  • Students created narrative text with relevant descriptive details and well-structured event sequences (CCSS Writing 6.3).
  • Students produced multiple forms of text in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience (CCSS Writing 6.4).
  • Students planned, revised, edited, re-wrote, and tried new approaches (CCSS Writing 6.5).
  • Students used technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as interact and collaborate with others (CCSS Writing 6.6).
  • Students included multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays (CCSS Speaking & Listening 6.5).
  • Students applied existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products or processes (ISTE NETs 1a).
  • Students created original works as means of personal or group expression (ISTE NETs 1b).
  • Students interacted, collaborated, and published with peers...employing a variety of digital environments (ISTE NETs 2a).
  • Students planned and managed activities to develop a solution or complete a project (ISTE NETs 4b).
  • Students troubleshot systems and applications (ISTE NETs 6b) and transfered current knowledge to learning of new technologies (ISTE NETs 6d).
These are just some of the connections I can make as an outsider observing the unit.  However, this project demonstrates how with some thoughtful planning each of us can easily construct (or digitally make over) units where students develop technology, digital literacy, and life-long learning skills while also building content knowledge and demonstrating the Natomas Charter School ESLRs.  

As you begin planning for next year consider reading through the posts on this blog and the NCS Professional Development Portal to generate ideas for how you can create similar connections in your own units.  I am always happy to sit down and brainstorm with you as well.  Just let me know when you want to meet.


1 comment:

  1. I love it! Great use so many different pieces of Technology to enhance learning, very hands on, creative, and useful. Thank you for sharing!