Making Movies with Students: "No, David!" Movie Stage 1

By Megan Power on September 25, 2009

The idea of making a movie with your students can seem overwhelming, but you and your students can do it! I have been making movies with my students for a few years now and I am always blown away by the amount of learning that takes place with each movie. Students learn about the content of the movie, a ton of life skills and about themselves. Take a look at how I begin making movies with my class.



A movie can be many things. It can be a slide show of still pictures, a commercial or a feature-length movie. My advice is to start small. In the beginning of the year I typically begin with making a still picture movie with students recording their voices. You can see this example in my post called Responsive Classroom: Kindergarten Hopes and Dreams. You can easily take pictures of your students and record them talking about their favorite subject, introducing a new friend, or sharing what they did over summer vacation. There are many free programs you can use to put these together to make a movie. If you have a PC, look to see if you have Windows Movie Maker. For Macs, you should have iMovie. You can also use free programs like Photo Story to create great movies in a fairly simple way.


After my students experience seeing and hearing themselves on the big screen, we begin to work on another class movie. I direct their attention to the use of multiple clips and begin teaching about the process of storyboarding. Storyboarding is the important planning phase of deciding what clips to use to create your movie. When teachers begin using video, their conception of how to make a movie can be very different from professionals. For example, some teachers think that a movie starts when they hit the record button, follow the action until it is over, stop recording, and the movie ends when the camera is turned off. However, professionals record thousands of small clips and use storyboards to help them decide what clips to use before editing the clips together to tell their story.


My class made a movie called, Kinder Rules. It will be posted on next week's blog. I used the video process as a way to teach and share our classroom rules. Currently, my class is working on adding to the story "No, David!" written by David Shannon. We love this book in the beginning of kindergarten because it is simple, funny, and it was based on a story David Shannon wrote when he was five years old. My students feel so empowered when they learn this!

IMG_0385


As far as movie making skills, I want my students to experiment with the idea of storyboarding and the placement of the actors on the screen to make sense with the illustrations. I also want them to learn the roles of actor, director and cinematographer, as well as, begin to see the possibilities of using a green screen. Concurrently with movie making skills, I want to integrate academic skills into the process. For example, I want my students to understand that the parent is the one talking in this story even if they are not in most of the illustrations. I also want my students to practice their reading skills that include tracking, sequencing and the retelling of a story.

 

IMG_0380

For the purposes of this post, I have focused on where my students are in the process of making this movie. So far we have read the book several times. Each group of three students is in charge of two pages from the story. Students glue a copy of their pages onto construction page to be used as our storyboards for this movie.


IMG_0382

Next, students analyzed the page to see where the parent should be placed in the picture. This is a great skill because they need to realize which way they need to face and how big or small the parent will be to make the page seem right. Students loved experimenting with their ideas by acting out their scenes right in front of their page! After acting and deciding where the parent character will be, they will cut out a silhouette and glue it onto the page. Once they have finished changing the storyboard, it becomes clear how the  students will set the scene up, like the pages from their book, to make the movie.

This type of activity builds responsibility, confidence, and a sense of pride in students' work. They see video all around their world and are ready and excited to learn right in the middle of it.

Here are some great resources for movie making in your classroom:

Picture This- This is an amazing free tutorial about different aspects of creating movies with students. This is a must see!

CREATE- This is a great writeup about storyboarding.

In future blogs, I will post about how students learn through the process of assuming the roles of director, actor, cinematographer and editor in classroom movies. Stay tuned!

Comments

Hi Megan! When I first heard about all the wonderful things you were doing, I was amazed! I love to use technology in every aspect of my teaching. We are beginning our first class created movie next week. Would you please explain your video setup? I have green cloth for the backdrop, but I don't have any lights yet. What's your suggestion for the best, most economical lighting?

I am so glad to hear you are trying this out! Green cloth works great just try to make it so there aren't too many wrinkles. My suggestion on lights are to go to Home Depot and buy the worklights on the stand. I think we got mine for about $20-$30. You can get away with 2 sets but 3 would be ideal. If you watch my classroom tour video you can see what the lights look like in the greenscreen picture. Let me know if you need further details or any more help! I'm so happy you are giving it a try!!! Smiles, Megan

I love the storyboarding idea. I think Where the Wild things would also work well I may try this process.

That would make such an awesome class movie! The storyboarding is a critical planning piece with so many instructional opportunities! Let us know how it comes out and if you need any help at all! Smiles, Megan

Hi Megan,

Congrats on becoming a teacher mentor!! I love the idea of creating movies with students. Last year my students chronicled their Math Fair Project using video, it was definitely a great experience. You have now given me additional ideas of ways to implement "movie making" into the more often and not just for Science and Math Fair Projects. Thank you! That a great way to incorporate video. Check out this website for plenty of other ideas for making movies in K-12. http://www.ivieawards.org/ Click on the Gallery on the top. My students have 2 movies on this site! Smiles, Megan

Hi Megan, As a technology teacher for grades 3 - 6, I found your use of technology with preK and Kindergarten students inspiring! Great job!

I look forward to future blogs!

Ready... set action!

Brian

Brian,

Thanks so much! I think it's so important to use technology even with our young students. They are more then ready and capable to use it. I hope to hear more from you in the future! Smiles, Megan

Hi Megan! Thanks for pushing K teachers to trust their students to become more involved with technology! These activities will also increase fluency, expression, comprehension and a love of reading! Thank you!! =)

Thanks for your comment. Many people think kids at this age are not able to do these things and they couldn't be more wrong. That is one thing I love about teaching K. It opens eyes to the possibilities of teaching our digital natives. Thanks again for your comment! Smiles, Megan

I think how you are describing the process for teachers is terrific. Many lower grade teachers feel this technology is too difficult for this grade. But your enthusiasm and thoughtful planning make the video a terrific integration of curriculum and project based learning. Thanks for the links. They are quite useful. You are giving your students many higher level critical thinking skills in assembling the video. We will be following you as we attempt to try to experiment in one of our lower grade classes. Pat Gill

Pat, I am so excited you are going to try something like this in your lower grade class. Please let me know how I can help. You said it great. The learning these kids get is unmeasurable. They learn so much more then the content! Thank you again for your wonderful comment! Smiles, Megan

I'm looking forward to viewing your "No David" video and loved the resources you posted for moviemaking and storyboarding. Thanks for walking us through this process step by step.

Linda, Thanks so much! You have been a huge part of all this. I thank you for all of your support! I too am excited to start filming our new movie! Smiles, Megan

Hi Megan! I love how you are walking everyone through the process of movie-making. It can be overwhelming and I think you are doing an excellent job of taking the fear out of it! I am looking forward to reading your blogs. Jill

Jill, Thank you. I love working with teachers to showing them not to fear technology. I agree it can absolutely be overwhelming but once you break it down it becomes manageable. Once you look at all the learning and excitement your students have for learning you will be sold. Right now I am in the process of starting a school TV studio with a morning news show! I know it is a huge task but once I break it down into pieces and have students really working it, I know it will work out really well. Stick with it and let me know if I can assist in anyway. Thanks again for the feedback. I always hope to help take the fear out! Smiles, Megan

Hi, Megan! I love the movie idea for Kinderarten! I like starting out with the pictures and using movie maker--a very easy way to start. When you move on to making a movie, how do you get the video onto your computer? Do you use a web cam or a video camera? I am so excited to watch how you do this so I can try it myself!!

Thanks!! Laura

Laura,

I love hearing your excitement! It is so great that you are stepping out and trying something new! Whe I get to video I use a video camera. I am sure using your webcam could work well in the beginning. The quaility will not be as good as using a video camera though. But give it a try! If your school doesn't have a video camera here is one that is $299 and works well. http://www.journeyed.com/item/Canon/Digital+Camcorders/56905264?AID=10654238&PID=3165483 You can also use a flip camera that can sell for about $100. I have also seen ones like it on ebay for about $50.

Once I put the video on the computer you can import it tthrough the program you are using. For example, if you are using Movie Maker click on import videos. Typically I use a program called Pinnacle to edit my movies. http://www.pinnaclesys.com/PublicSite/us/Home/ This year I am trying out Abobe Visual Communicator for broadcasting which can use a webcam. Let me know if you need more assistance! Smiles, Megan

Nice one.. I'll do that in my class.

Cheers... ren

Ren, Thank you. I am excited that you are going to try it in your class. You will love the whole process of making the movies! Let me know if you need any help! Megan

Hi Megan,

What a great project. I did a similar one, filming No David at the local cable access station. Keep up the good work.

Best, Jeremy

Jeremy, Thanks so much. I would love to hear more about your project! Megan

I think that making videos with the students is a wnderful idea. It gets them invloved instantly and keeps their attention. I love this!

Sydnee, Thanks for your comment. Creating videos really does get them completely involved and hold their interest. It also works on so many standards in a real world way. Smiles, Megan

Add comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
top
RSS Subscribe ButtonSign up to get these great teaching ideas delivered automatically.Subscribe now >