Yealey Elementary Book Commercials from Steve Oldfield on Vimeo.
Mrs. Zureick and I worked together to help our second graders create book videos to promote reading with younger children. This is a project we did on a smaller scale last year, but we ramped it up during a Project Based Learning seminar this summer with the Buck Institute for Education.
I'm really excited about this project, the time I spent with the second graders, working with the second grade team, and the final product. This blog post will serve as a means to hit the highlights, and I'm fairly certain it will be a long one.
A solid PBL unit will have a strong driving question to guide the process. The question we posed to the students at the beginning was...
How can we as readers and book reviewers help beginning readers pick interesting books?I think this was a hard concept for the students to think about when we first talked to them. We got a lot of answers like, "Well, I just tell them what I thought of the book." I remember how we would explain to them that we couldn't just have them sit in the library and explain each book. "Oh, well they can just call us on the phone and we'll tell them." Finally, we guided them to the idea of creating book commercials that would be available through the Internet and QR codes inside book covers. They loved the idea!
We spent a lot of time talking about success criteria for good commercials, watching and critiquing other videos, and modeling the process ourselves. Finally, we got to survey kindergartners and first graders in our school about books they liked before our local public library brought us a massive stack of books to work with.
As part of our project, we were able to have a video chat with an author who told us about her books, the writing process and how to create a good book promotion. Tricia Stewart Shiu and Nepris were a huge help in our process of growing from readers to book reviewers.
If you've ever written anything you know the writing process can be lengthy. If you've ever watched second graders handwrite anything, you know it takes forever. I watched as students would write up a paragraph, get feedback from a peer, cross it all out and rewrite the whole thing. It was at that point I got a crazy idea. Let's teach second graders how to use Google Docs. I don't know when your school starts working with cloud computing, but these kids just got their fingers on Chromebooks a few weeks earlier. This was huge! I think it took two days to get them on Docs and type up their commercials, but it was a massive step forward in our process. We got to teach the editing process without waiting half a class period between drafts.
Finally, the students were ready to record their videos. We use WeVideo in our school for video creation and editing. I love how it's quick and easy to create videos in the cloud and sharing is super easy. One goal we had for the video aspect of this project was not to just hold their hands as they created videos but to train them to be the teachers.
Once videos were completed, I did a bit of tech work in the background. I downloaded the videos to my hard drive then immediately uploaded them back to our Vimeo page. Then we created QR Codes for each commercial. Finally, I sent everything to our public library for them to process on their end.
As the first round of 24 videos were being completed, we started up plans to continue the project through the rest of the second grade in our school. Since we trained these students to be the teachers, we were able to sit back and watch them help their friends. It was at that point that Children Inc. found out about our service learning project and wanted to create the video you saw at the top of the page.
The end result was astounding! Ninety-nine book commercials were put on display at the library! We hosted an open house a week ago for students and families to come and see the videos. It was such a great culminating event to celebrate all this hard work! I wish I could tell you all the stories of self-confidence found, leadership skills honed, and love of reading kindled. I am so glad I got to take part in this amazing project!
Now, for a reward for reading this far, I'm going to share with you some of my favorite commercials.
HI FLY GUY from Donna Logan on Vimeo.
Farmyard Beat from Donna Logan on Vimeo.
BAD KITTY DOES NOT LIKE THE SNOW from Donna Logan on Vimeo.
Spider Man V.S. Doc Ock from Donna Logan on Vimeo.