Archive for the ‘Movie/Video’ Category

At the moment, my students are working on a project. I want them to be creative, so I give them as little guidance as possible when starting the project. This drives them nuts because they want as much guidance as possible. Really, they want the whole thing spelled out for them.

No Way!

One of the best things I have found to help inspire students is to show them examples of people who are creative, and it really helps if there is some explanation of the “where” and “how” these people come up with their ideas.

OK Go is a great place to turn for examples of creativity. I don’t think the guys have ever put together a project that didn’t totally outdo the last one. Their projects just keep getting bigger and bigger. What I really like about the band is that they not only produce great music videos, but they also often have a follow-up video that shows how they put the videos together. They show the whole process from the initial brainstorming all the way through to the finished product.

This is powerful for students to see. Too many students (or people in general) feel that they have no creative talent. They feel that creative people are just born that way. But this is not the case. Students need to know that anyone can be creative if they put their minds to it.

It just takes a bunch of hard work.

Today, the video that I showed was “The One Moment.” I started by showing the actual music video and followed it with the “making of” video. The music video itself is just over 4 minutes long, and the “making of” video is just over 5 minutes long. So, the whole “creative inspiration” only takes 10 or 12 minutes. I don’t like to talk much about it with the students. I let them process what they need to out of the videos, and then we get right to work on the projects.

Below, you will find both “The One Moment” and the behind the scenes look at the video production.




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I shared this video with my classes this week. We were using it as a means of studying good argument technique. On top of this, I really just liked the message in the video.


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In the last few weeks, I have been thinking a bunch about Youtube and how it can be used as an educational tool. I ran across this video today, and it confirmed all that I have been thinking about!


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My guarantee to students on the first day of school is that they will never watch a full length movie in my classroom. Okay, we might watch a Shakespeare play, but not in one 2 hour sitting. It will be shown in bits and pieces as we read the play.

This does not mean, however, that I will never use video in my classroom. I use it almost every day.

Video is a great way to connect the dots in a students mind.

Here is a quick lesson I did this week to show students how good grammar affects writing. First I showed them this video. It shows numerous cars sliding down a hill in the snow and crashing into various cars, trees and houses.”This,” I told them, “is what the grammar errors in your paper do to me when I am grading them. It is literally like running into a tree or smashing off of a snowplow. After so many grammar errors, I can’t even remember what the paper is about.”

After this video, I show students this video, which depicts snowmobiles floating through the snow gracefully and jumping off of cliffs. All of this is done with only one wreck in the entire video. Today, just as the video ended, one of the students blurted out, “Hey. That isn’t fair. They edited out all the wrecks.” I looked at him with a smile, and said, “Precisely my point.”

It took a second, but then he got a funny look on his face and said, “Now I get it.”


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This past week, my senior classes have been working on video projects. All of the video work was to be done outside of the classroom, so when students brought in their work, the classroom was full of various electronic devices used to record the videos, everything from tablets to laptops to phones of several different makes a models.

Of course, when I gave the assignment, I asked that students to make sure that there was a means of retrieving the video files from the devices before they actually did any recording. I knew that this would not happen, but it never hurts to try at the beginning of the project. Luckily, in one way or another, we were able to watch every single video on the projector in front of the room.

Don’t think it was easy. There were a few technical issues, but in the end, it all worked out.Here’s a few things we did to accomplish the task. Hopefully, these ideas can be of help for you in a future project.

The biggest lifesaver in showing the projects was a 50 in one card reader. Honestly, I am not sure that the small contraption could possibly read 50 different cards, but it certainly helped us to access many of the videos from the various student devices. Probably the biggest help was in reading micro SD cards from student phones. Many of the newer smart phones have a micro SD. Sometimes, if the student has the cord, the phone can be hooked up to the computer, but someone has to have the right cord. This is usually the case. Not only was the card reader useful in reading the mini SD, but we also had to read a Memory Stick Pro Duo.

The next biggest challenge came when a student, and several of his friends, used his new Galaxy Tab to record their videos. He didn’t have a cord to access the tablet, and he didn’t have a card either. This meant that all 23 of us were going to have to huddle around the small screen to watch the video, but then we had an idea! We opened up the webcam on the laptop and the student simply held the tablet up in front of the camera. He plugged the speakers into the tablet so we had good sound. The picture was a little shaky, but I was surprised how well it worked. Before class was over, we ended up doing this with two more tablets.

Another issue we ran across was videos that were not playing correctly. Many of the videos that were recorded using an iPhone wanted to play sideways in Media Player on my PC. After a watching a few videos with our heads cocked sideways, it dawned on me to open the videos off of the iPhone in QuickTime, which is an Apple product. That did the trick. The videos played upright. The same was also true for two videos that played normally but didn’t have any sound. When opened in QuickTime, they played correctly. It was just a formatting issue.



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A year and a half ago, I worked with a group of 7th grade students to submit video for the One Day On Earth Project. Basically, people from around the world shot video to show what was happening in their lives on 10/10/10. The class I worked with had maybe 3 minutes of video that we put together and submitted to the project. Yesterday, I received an email from Mrs. Filo, the teacher of the class, who told me that the video was going to be a part of the final video made from the project. Of the two hundred worldwide first screenings of the film, one of these is going to be held in Fort Morgan, Colorado in the middle school auditorium.

I don’t write this to brag. Okay, maybe a little, but the more I think about this project, the more excited I get to do more of these kinds of projects in the classroom. It’s great that the student video is being used for the final cut, but the project meant a lot more than that to me, and hopefully did to the students involved. They participated in a global project on that day in October. Their video is now a part of a video archive that can always be looked at by future generations.

This is the beauty of the internet. No longer are we stuck in our schools within the confines of our small towns or even big cities, wherever it is we may live. Student have the opportunity to explore, share, and play a role in the global learning network.

However, there is one condition; students need the opportunity. This can only come from open minded administrators, teachers, and parents who dare to take their students there.


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1.Creativity: Students can show what they know best through the act of creation. In creating a script and storyboard for a video, students not only show what knowledge they have gained but help the brain to become an even better tool for logical and rational thought.

2. Thought process: Building a stop motion video takes planning. An initial idea starts as a thought, is fleshed out in a script and then start to come to life as the storyboard is created. Working through a process like this helps students to think about working logically through a project.

3. Finishing a project: Students find great satisfaction in being able to watch their video with classmates. Being able to finish a project and show it to others builds self esteem and provides a platform for successfully accomplishing tasks in the future.

4. Attention to detail: Moving figurines hundreds of time to create a stop motion project takes careful planning and acute attention to detail.

5. Follow directions: There are many steps involved in making a stop motion film. Because students are highly engaged in this activity, instructors have the opportunity to use the project as a means of showing how following directions produces great results with less hassle.

6. Teamwork: The best stop motion projects are made in teams. Refining scripts, storyboards, and creating the film can all be done in groups. Those groups that work well together always seem to have the best projects.


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