May 10, 2015

Including Kids' Voices In Your End of the Year Video

Spending my Sunday evening working on the End of Year video while my sweet fiance prepares dinner! 

This evening, I spent some time prepping my End of the Year video! Sometimes I wonder why I put myself through this extra work, but it is a nice way to reflect on the end of the year and to send my families and students away on that last day with happy faces and full hearts!

However, in the past two years, I have wondered: How can I elevate my classroom video to be a true reflective product for my students? and How can I involve them more in the process of  reflection through creation? 

We all have a story to tell.  And we have a story to tell...together.

The following are just some tips and ideas to keep in mind for creating your video and perhaps further including your students in this creation.

General Tips
  1. Use what you have. Have an iPhone? Great! All of my pictures and videos come straight from my iPhone. I upload files to the Dropbox App when I am ready to start making my movie. The newer versions of iPhones take top notch pictures and videos, and if you're like me, your phone is always close by and available to catch the special moments in your classroom.
  2. Start at the beginning of the year. This year, I made a Beginning of the Year Video to show at Open House. It was a hit! Now that it's May, I've just taken that show and added to and tweaked it. We are also able to do some special shots to help us see how far we've come. There are pictures of every student on the first day of school. There is also a first day video of them standing in a circle, waving and smiling, while I pan around. We will repeat this shot for the End of the Year video and I think it will be a nice touch to see how they've grown and changed!
  3. Take close ups. Yes, it's nice to try and catch as many kids as possible in a picture, but the most beautiful pictures are often the most simple. When you have less kids in the shot, and the camera is closer to them, your audience can feel more like they are right there, enjoying the memory with each student. 
  4. Take a tally. Grab your class roster, a pencil, and a few minutes of time. View your video (before you add any music or final touches) and tally each time you see one of your students. This will help you make sure no one gets left out, or feels left out because they only see themselves once or twice.
  5. Add music last. To me, this is the most difficult part. I want to have a few different pieces of music in the show, so I will have to cut it just right. I also want to have it fade in and out to the videos. No matter how anxious you are to start this part (it IS fun!), just wait until you have the final product to save yourself a few headaches. This comes from personal experience, of course. 
  6. Upload to YouTube. If you upload it as "unlisted", only people with the link can view it. Parents can share it with grandparents, aunts, and uncles without those people having to have an account to link up to yours (which is what happens when you set it to private). I upload to YouTube so that I can share it without having to create DVDs-which can be expensive and time consuming and without purpose (most people don't watch DVDs anymore!). 
Including Kids' Voices
  1. Plan it with your students. Even if you already have a pretty exhaustive idea of what your plan is, give your students some time to meet with partners, take notes, and share out ideas about what they would like to see in photos, videos, or with interview questions. I just gave my kids an assignment, a partner, a dry erase board, and 20 minutes of class time to do this. You will be amazed at the great ideas they come up with! 
  2. Include interviews. This is perhaps my favorite part of our video. In groups of 2-4, I ask students questions to get them reflecting on the year, many of these questions coming from our class planning session. For example: "What was your favorite part of 2nd grade?", "What are you most proud of?", "Tell me about something you learned.", or "Why is our Team the BEST?" 
  3. Keep the camera rolling. During the interviews, I ask one question and then I just let them go with it! I don't rush them, and I don't cut the camera off when it appears they are done answering my question. When they go off script, it is THE BEST. OMG. SO CUTE. Goofy faces, impromptu cheers, 2nd grade lessons on how pickles are made, the definition of "peeps" (people), spontaneous get the picture.
  4. Host a special preview. I know you might really like to keep it as a surprise, but this video is one that the kids will want to watch over and over. They will love being "in" on the surprise. They will also get their chance to giggle/talk/squeal before you talk to them about "trying to stay under control so your parents/grandparents/siblings can enjoy the video". 

Well, that's all for now! Leave a comment if you have a tip for me! 

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