June 22, 2007

Thoughts about younger students and digital storytelling

During Summer Learning Camp here at Alsup IB World School I have been pushed to work outside my comfort zone, teaching Kindergarten through fifth graders. I am used to teaching third and fourth graders. When I was designing my lessons for the three weeks of filmmaking workshop I struggled with what I should do in order to make films with the youngest students. I knew the second-fifth graders who had more advanced reading and writing skills would be more prepared to tell their stories digitally. But how could I make digital storytelling engaging for the youngest students? Would they enjoy the process or be bored? How much could they do on their own, and what would I have to help them with?

The Kindergarten/first grade group has made two films so far and has started a third. Each film has been posted to youtube.com. Their second film was about animals. For each part of the digital storytelling process I have guided the group in an interactive way using the Smartboard. Each student selected pictures that we downloaded from Microsoft Office Clipart online. After importing the photos into Photo Story 3 for Windows the students each edited their two photos, typed the names of the animals on them, and recorded their voice on their photos. We selected music as a group, built our story and then watched it on "the big screen." I have been happy with how this group has been able to focus on the digital storytelling process when guided through each part, one step at a time. Another thing that has helped is only working on our film for a short ammount of time each day before doing other activities. The students have a lot of fun making films together and then watching them! Any ideas how to improve this process of digital storytelling with younger students?

1 comment:

Joseph Miller said...

This blog is amazing. I watched the animals video...very impressive. With the youngest children it seems that you are taking the right approach. Engage them and let them see the fruits of their labor. There is a cool podcast by kindergarten children here: http://kinderteacher.podomatic.com/

They have a video version of the podcast too. The teacher later reflects at this blog:

The teacher talks about how much she did and how much time was invested. Very eye-opening.

Great work!