My team finished our last major project in our classes. What a project. I have made movies with my class before. I love teaching the movie making process to students. All the ideas, writing, storyboarding, planning, preparing, performing, and best of all, viewing the final product. This is a new way of doing our films. We have done individual films in our rooms and have put together some pretty big productions. With us doing PLC's and seeing how powerful it is we decided to incorporate the while fifth grade into one big film. This gave each student an opportunity to have as big a part as they wanted and to be able to do more with the filming.
We started out picking the subject of our movies. Our Social Studies Curriculum is about the United States and so we went with U.S. History. We had decided weeks ago that we would each do six movies in our rooms. that would give us 18 short films to put together into one big film and we would have a Journey Through History. And so we did. We split the topics into different perspectives of the different groups involved in the topic. When we picked the Revolution, we split it into three topics; British, Hessians, and Americans. All three groups we set during the night before the crossing of the Delaware by George Washington.
We picked the topics and assigned them to our four-person groups in our classes. We wanted to keep the movies down to about 2 minutes and everyone in the group needed to be in the movie. The could use others from the class, but the main characters needed to be from the group. Each group researched about their topic and wrote a short script of the major points to help the audience know what was happening and what people felt a that time. Once they had a story and dialogue, they tackled the storyboard. they were allowed 6-12 boards to tell their story. The hardest part of storyboarding is fitting what needs to happen in the story into something that looks similar to what they want and still being able to film it on the elementary school grounds. It is kinda hard to film a ship scene in a big storm.
After the students filmed their shorts we had them edit their own films. They used their scripts and storyboards to keep themselves on track. We gave them a short overview on how to use iMovie 08 and turned them loose. They worked pretty well with their group and put together a basic edited version of the shorts. The teachers came in next and did a final edit of each film. Thus is where we get to refine the cuts, make sure the sound is loud enough, and they followed the script. Anything that should not be in the film is cut and a final product is produced. When each of the films have been finished, they are exported and combined into one bug film in Final Cut. This is we add in sound effects and colorized the film so it has a consistent look. It was then burned and shown at our Film Festival Night. Parents are invited and popcorn is popped.
Overall the students get real writing and organizing experience as well as getting a final product that they can keep forever. Making movies is a great experience for the students. As a teacher, it makes for a great final test in writing, organization, research, and presentation.