Sunday, April 26, 2020

Infusion of Tech You Can Do

I planned to share this about 6 weeks ago - my heart was swelling with pride & accomplishment! Life changed suddenly and I put this on pause. Now, I want to share it because it deserves its day in the spotlight. It's sure to make you smile!

The second grade team at one of my buildings asked me to help them last year with their Wax Museum. They wanted to record their students "being" the historical person and then share the video with parents. We set up shop in a small conference room with a simple black background and the title "2nd Grade Wax Museum". I used a video recorder to make a video for each teacher and then handed it over to each teacher to share. When all was said & done, one of the teachers and I started chatting about potential "level ups" for the next year.

Fast-forward to THIS year. Our district is knee-deep in PBL's (project-based learning). This 2nd grade team chose to use the wax museum to be their PBL and they asked me to help. We talked through their requirements and structure and I came prepared with some ideas. We settled on how we wanted it to go ... and can I tell you right now how PROUD I am of the students?!?!?! (The teachers did a phenomenal job getting them ready, too, but the students were the stars!)

The whole theme to my blog is "Tech You Can Do" and each week my goal is to share something that you and your students can do. For this one, I don't have a template for you to duplicate. But what I am going to share below is their process and what the students did. It is just flat out awesome and I know you can duplicate something out of here for your own students.

May I start by pointing out to you that we are talking about 7 & 8 year olds? Yep. Second graders are 7 & 8 years old. To start, they chose a person that interested them. Then they did some guided research with their teachers - and used both online and print resources. Students took their research and turned it into a paragraph about their person, most of them using a first-person voice. This was typed on a single Google Slide. A second Google Slide was used to create a backdrop for their person using images or items that match their person. Throughout this, they also were working on costumes or props for their person.

Prior to our scheduled taping day, I turned a conference room into our "studio" with the help of our media manager, Diana. After various trouble-shooting and some quick thinking between Diana & myself, we welcomed the famous people into the studio. On recording day, each student stood in front of a large screen display - with their background on display; I was in the center, next to a table with my phone, which was our recording device, a pair of headphones with a microphone attached stretching toward the student; and a second large screen behind me, displaying their Slide with their paragraph (our "teleprompter"). We also had tape, a step stood, and various odds & ends that allowed for the "best" recording for each student. A chromebook was attached to each display to allow the teachers to bring up their Google Classroom where the 2 Google Slides were housed.

Now you, might think, whoa. What did you do with all those videos? Easy!!! Each teacher set-up a Flipgrid grid and I actually just recorded IN the app, so each students' video automatically was captured there. At the end of each recording, I adjusted the names to be that of the student & their historical person. IT. WAS. (and still is) AMAZING!!!! 

And it doesn't end there ... an unintended ability with Flipgrid is the teachers were able to share the videos with their class - allowing for commenting - but ALSO, a QR code & link directly to each student was created and easily shared. Oh how I love when a tool works out so nicely!!! It was amazing to see the kids and be part of this project. Working as a team, we recording right around 100 students! (I even re-recorded a few whose videos were taped side-ways.)

I'd like to wrap this up with a couple of main points:
  1. I've used Flipgrid maybe twice before this ... it was a huge risk on my part! Yikes! I was nervous!
  2. This was big change in the way this project worked for the teachers ... and it was AWESOME!
  3. It's never a bad idea to try something new!

We got some really positive feedback from this from the parents. My favorite is one of the teachers shared that the dad of a student is currently deployed, and his mom wrote to say thank you because she could share the video very quickly and easily. The dad could see his child and feel better connected. Tears. Then and now. 

I also want to give a shout out to Ann Kozma! I contacted her prior to the taping to ask some questions. THANK YOU! I appreciate your help!

Have a great week!

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