The Screeching Owl

Archive for September, 2010

It’s A Paper Slide What?

Posted by David Fisher on 27th September 2010

Paper slide video.

For those of us who have had the pleasure of spending some time with Dr. Lodge McCammon, we know all about these paper slide videos.  For those who have not, here is a brief introduction. Paper slide videos are exactly what the name says.  Students create slides on blank paper, write scripts that explain the slides, and then the teacher videotapes the students delivering the script while moving the slides in time with the script.  The filming, though, takes place over the shoulder of the student sliding the slides, and the rest of the group is out of the shot delivering the script.  Still confused?  Have a look at this short demonstration of some paper slide videos my students made.  This should clear things up.

From start to finish these videos were made in under an hour.  The overall idea is really simple, yet brilliant.  Give the students a topic and let them create something that shows their mastery of that topic in a one-take video.  No real rehearsals; no special effects; no props other than the slides. Paper slide videos are an easy-to-incorporate technology project that any teacher can do.  All you need is a video camera and a computer.  If you can’t then project the videos onto a screen in your classroom, huddle around the monitor and watch them there, or post them onto the web for the students and parents. I’ll talk more about posting videos in a future post.

Recently I held two workshops on how to do paper slide videos for a professional development day.  One of my colleagues asked after a short introduction to the idea what is the value of paper slide videos.  After she and her partner completed one of their own, the value was very clear.  This is the type of project that will allow every child in your classroom an opportunity to participate.  It won’t matter if that child is average, gifted, or has a learning issue.  If you can write, draw, talk, and slide a sheet of paper from one pile to another, you can make a paper slide video.  These videos can be used as an enrichment activity, an alternative assessment, an alternative to the conventional book project, a way to demonstrate a science experiment through images, and so many other things.  I really believe that because this project is so easy to do, yet has the ability to deliver some very sophisticated results, it has to be something that every teacher should try.

After all, what’s the worst thing that can happen?  Yeah, I know.  Nothing works and you’re left holding camera with nothing to shoot.  In a case like that, do what we’ve all learned to do…wing it!

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The Whole Hoot and Nothing But The Hoot…

Posted by David Fisher on 16th September 2010

Yes, the title of this post is a bit unconventional.  Yes, the name of the blog is a bit unconventional since it is a fifth grade class blog.  And, yes, you will now get the whole hoot and nothing but the hoot!

As you, the parents, read this post, you’ll clearly see the play on words that I used in the title of this blog post. Intentional as it is, there is a point to its use.  We have already built up and filed away a plethora of phrases, words, idioms, etcetera, that we can easily call upon to help us understand what an author or individual is saying.  Children are still in the process of building their collections and may not fully understand the title’s meaning.  With a little help from you, it will be clear.  Again, intentional.

If you’re a regular blog reader, you know that the topics of bloggers run wild.  You will find topics that will interest you, not interest you, make you think twice about something, repulse you, and so much more.  You may even decide to take a few extra minutes and comment on a blog post thereby engaging with the text of the blog and its blogger, and everyone else who has already posted comments.  You might even talk to your friends about the blog, write about it on Facebook or Twitter, or just discuss at the dinner table.  If you don’t regularly read blogs, I hope this one will be your first, and the first of many.

I would imagine that you’re wondering how this blog connects to the classroom and your child’s education.  Remember, after all, that the information in a blog is only as good as the author.  Should the author be questionable in anyway, well, you get the idea.  Having said that, let’s connect some dots.  There has been much research done into the educational effects of blogging and using blogs in the classroom.  As it turns out, the research reports positive findings. Things like increased time spent on meaningful reading activities, increased time on writing activities, increased creative production from students, and the acquisition of technology skills are just a few of the items the research has reported as positive outcomes of blogs in the classroom.

One of the areas of reading that we often teach and discuss in the classroom is a reader’s interaction with text.  Incorporating this blog into the classroom is yet another way to create that interaction.  This interaction will also increase and modify the way that students interact with each other.  Face-to-face discussions happen daily.  They can now continue electronically at home.

I could go on and on about how the incorporation of this blog will help your children.  Instead, I want to bring you and your children into this world so that you can see for yourself.  I will be posting entries here on a regular basis.  The entries will not only provide information to you, but they may also be educational opportunities that I will want your children to engage in either at home or at school.  I will want your children to be guest bloggers here through writing completed in class and posted here by me.  Then you, the parents, will have an opportunity to comment on your child’s writing.

I truly believe that the possibilities of this blog are boundless as we move forward through this year.  I am very much looking forward to this journey, and I hope that you will join me.

Let’s take that first step together!

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