Friday, May 2, 2014

Events that Changed the World - iMotion Films @ Smyser School, Emily Porter, Smyser Elementary School

The students begin their research online. They work with a partner and save drafts of the script in the Shared Drive. All students at Smyser School use their CPS email accounts. IMG_20140325_151440.jpg

Teaching students to create original content is my favorite part of the digital shift within the world of school libraries. For years, I sponsored History Fair and I became enchanted with using primary sources to drive content within social studies. Teaching students to locate artifacts, letters, and particularly photos activates that intrinsic curiosity within kids. From the research they conduct, they pull all of the resources together and use them in ways I could never have imagined. IMG_20140401_151456.jpg

I have been teaching documentary film making with 7th & 8th grade students.  So quite a few of my students have learned to visually tell stories using primary sources. They know how to conduct interviews. They can edit and attach sound files to projects. Then, last summer I learned to make stop-action films using iMotion. The app was only available for iPads so it wasn’t until we were awarded the REVITAL grant that I was able to truly design a unit integrating iMotion into the research projects and implement it with my students here.

The following photos document the process of my students creating Smyser’s first stop-action films. I have to say, I am pretty pleased with the results!

As their research is finalized, they begin to draft a script about the events they learned about. Important details for the script include developing characters who actually participated in the incident, picking a setting that is authentic, and developing dialog that includes the facts - dates- etc… so that the audience learns the details and significance of the event.  
The students use to organize the scenes that will be created with the props and materials the kids bring from home.

I allow students quite a bit of freedom when it comes to the materials they bring to make the iMotion films. Most choose to create 3D sets out of dolls, Legos, and action figures. Some like to draw and create characters from construction paper and sketches. A big part of our class discussions focus on intellectual property, copyright, usable/free media, and creative commons media. Some very robust discussions have evolved from teaching kids about these concepts.


However, most kids find drawing characters laborious and bring their props from home. I store the materials from them in the library so they don’t have to drag supplies back and forth from home or lockers.

Now for the FUN part….


Legos, stages, and action figures….


… And then they film, using iMotion.IMG_20140401_151430.jpg

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