Thursday, May 12, 2016

Bringing our Writing to Life!

The end of the year in room 52 has looked different for the past five years. May rolls around and I think, "Yep! Trying something new again..." This May was no different. 

This year, my students are filled to the brim with creative juices and I wanted to give them an opportunity to showcase their creative skills to wrap up the year. As you can see from this post about science movies, we are really good at being in front of the camera. 

This year, I challenged students to write an original fictional story and then turn it into an iMovie. The catch? They wouldn't be starring in it... They were to make all props and characters using materials around the school.  I must include that my classroom has been a disaster for three weeks and I'm totally-okay-with-it-sometimes

To get our wheels  spinning, students swiped through iMovie Trailers to get an idea for the theme and mood of their story. After they decided on a tone for their story, they had to complete a graphic organizer mapping out the beginning, middle, and end. This part was vital to the project being successful. We tend to have REALLY long "middle" parts of the story and then we, "fall off a cliff" (as a good friend calls it) and don't wrap up our story.  I even encouraged them to include a theme at the end of the story. 

I've kind of been flying by the seat of pants from day one, but I think it's working out! Here's the rundown of how the project went AFTER they completed a graphic organizer:
  • Students had to write and edit an original story in their writer's notebooks with partners. 
  • Students had to create all props. Students had to make (no more) than two backdrops and characters on popsicle sticks. This is where the project took a mind of its own... We have horses, Lego characters, Pizza Steve, and balloon men floating around the room!
  • Partners worked to create an iMovie trailer to show on YouTube to get the public ready for their movie!
  • The final piece... create an iMovie sharing your original story. 
Behind the Scenes  -- Creating Props

Behind the Scenes  -- Filming 

Right now, students are tying up lose ends and getting ready to submit movies tomorrow. In the mean time, you can check out our trailers on YouTube! 

Reflecting back on the last few weeks.... I have to admit, I've been on a bit of a roller coaster of decision making. At times, I've panicked and thought, "HOLY COW! We won't ever finish!" Then I'm flying high and thinking, "These kids are amazing."  I realized it was important to set daily goals with my students so they had a focus for each class period. It was also important, for me, to give up a bit of control and let the kids be creative! It was loud, noisy, messy, and kids were all over the place.... but they were creating incredible products! 

You can check out all of the trailers for the movies (coming to a theater NEAR YOU!) right here.

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