Quality Commenting Video by Third Graders

Take a few minutes to watch the following “Quality Commenting on Blogs” video by third graders. Then follow along the description of the creation process and “behind the scenes” work that went into the production of the video. Let’s dissect the video creation and look at the learning process itself.


We were inspired by Mrs. Yollis’s 3rd grade “How to Compose a Quality Comment” Video…

…and watching our own 2nd grade class’ tutorial “How to Navigate the Classroom Blog”,…

…our third graders were ready to create their own video about “Quality Comments”. For the ones that believe a 5 minute video takes about 5 minutes to produce… you are in for a surprise…

We started out by brainstorming what we already knew about commenting. What does quality even mean? What would a “quality comment” on the third grade classroom blog mean? We then compared what we came up with with Mrs. Yollis’s advice.

Quality Commenting Brainstorming

We really liked how Mrs. Yollis’s video had their Panda bear woven into the script. So our third graders came up with the idea of writing their scripts around being a newscast. It was a perfect timing, since one of our school’s family had just been featured in our local news.

Watching a sample Newscast video clip

It was time to introduce the concept of storyboarding. How could we make sure that we were going to include all of the brainstormed ideas of what a quality comment was in our news show? What characters would we need in the show? Who would take what part?

Storyboarding as a Class

The class created a collaborative storyboard that everyone was happy with. The next part was for each student to write their script. What were they going to say in the movie? How could they teach others how to leave a quality comment?

Students wrote their scripts, had them peer edited and classroom teacher approved before they went into the computer lab to  type the group scripts (anchors/reporters/interviewees)  into a Google Doc, which they shared with me.

A tip I learned from Dean Shareski’s K12Online Conference Keynote was to use my iPad as a teleprompter. I had downloaded the iPrompt Pro app, then copied and pasted each group’s script from the shared Google Docs into the app and we were ready to start filming.

Students were reflecting, writing and drawing about their experiences during the process of creating the video in their (paper) journals.

I also tested out another iPad app: StoryPagesHD. I was pretty impressed with the app, since it allowed to directly draw the scene in one pane and type (or copy/paste) the script in another one below. It was also very practical to be able to move each scene to different positions after they had been create in the Page Grid layout. Once the storyboard was completed it was easily exported as individual images to the Photo Gallery or e-mailed as a pdf file.

Filming started and the kids were very enthusiastic and patient as we had to re- film several scenes over and over again. They started to be their own critics, wanting to do their best work.

As we filmed different scenes (out of order due to time challenges, illnesses and absences), the storyboard became even more important. Although students did not edit the video directly, I tried to involve them as much as possible in the process. By projecting the iMovie project onto the big screen, I asked them to use their previously created storyboard and “read” alongside as the movie played. I paused several times in between to have them help me “predict” the next scene and help me drag and drop the correct clip into place. They also helped suggest appropriate text titles placed onto the movie clips and had the final say in approving the movie before it was exported.

Extending the Classroom

We could have ended learning about quality commenting with the completion of the video… but… how do you make more connections for your students? How do you take learning off the pages off the book, open up the walls of your classroom and tear down the barriers of subject separation in the context of the school day? How can we extend the learning that took place during the production of the video?

It was a logical choice to try to connect with Mrs. Yollis’s class from California. It was them who inspired us to start thinking about quality comments. After reaching out to Mrs. Yollis on Twitter, they immediately left us a comment on our blog.

Students could put their newly found “quality commenting” skills to use by responding to their California peers.

Mrs. Yollis's comment on our 3rd grade classroom blog

We arranged a skype call with Mrs. Yollis‘s class. The students loved recognizing their students (and Panda!) from the video. We learned a lot about their state and school community as well as shared facts about ours.

Take a look at Mrs. Yollis’s blog post about our Skype connection or view this short video below.

The conversation between the two classes is continuing  via the classroom blogs!

@Ben

Florida is two hours away from Orlando. How far is Los Angeles to Disneyland?

Evie, Jonah, Yoni

We had a wonderful time skyping with you! One thing we learned is that the highest point in Los Angeles is 14,000 feet. Thank you for letting us skype with you.

Your Friends
Ben, Drew, and Zoe

The differences between Florida and California are California has mountains and Florida is flat. California gets earth quakes and Florida gets hurricanes. California doesn’t get much rain, Florida gets a lot!

your friends from Martin Jay Gottlieb Day School,

Jamie and Elior

Hi this is Liam,Itamar and Zachary from the 3rd grade we loved skyping with you we learned a lot.How long did it take to make your movie? What inspired you to make your movie? Did you get the idea of making your movie about quality comment from watching another video?We would like to skype with you again! The ocean here is very warm most of the year it’s in the eighty’s.

Dear Mrs. Yollis,

We enjoyed skyping because we learned new things about California.
We like skyping because you get to meet people around the world.
We think it is cool that you live 20 miles away from L.A. !

From,
Rebecca,Savonnie,Ethan :)

Lindsay and Adia said…

Warmly,
Lindsay♥ and Adia♥

Dear Rebecca, Savonnie, and Ethan,

This is Lindsay and Adia from Mrs. Yollis’ class. We loved your comment! It doesn’t seem as if you are beginners! You are amazing commenters!

We had a fun time skyping with you too! Have you ever been to Disneyland in L.A.? If you have been in Disneyland before, how did you like it? Did you meet any Disney characters? What was your favorite ride?

Both of us have been to Disneyworld in Florida. Adia loved meeting Minnie Mouse because she was so cute! Lindsay liked meeting Mickey. It was extremely fun!

P.S. Adia earned her own blog and she included the URL for you. It is above their greeting

Dear Ben, Drew, and Zoe,

We loved skyping with you. It was wonderful learning about your community, and sharing about our community. A similarity is we both live near the ocean. A difference is that we live across the country! We are very excited to be your blogging friends.

Warmly,
Jaden and T:-)cker

So, do you still think that creating a 5 minute video takes about 5 minutes? Do you still think that the only thing that students “got out of” filming the video was FUN? It was NOT about using the technologies and creating a movie.

It was about

  • the writing process: brainstorming, pre-writing, drafting, revising, proofreading and publishing
  • all the skills and literacies that students touched upon and practiced
  • extending the classroom and finding an authentic audience
  • making connections with experts and peers from outside of our local community
  • collaboratively working together

Take a look at the following template, I have been using with the teachers to plan and reflect when upgrading a lesson or unit to include 21st century skills, literacies and the roles to empower learners (based on Alan November)

The “X” indicates a role that we did not assign to anyone in this particular upgrade. It is not necessary to use all the roles all the time, but by documenting the roles that were used we, as planners and facilitators,  become aware of what we might want to focus on the following upgrade.

Digital Storytelling is a wonderful and natural medium of the 21st century.

Digital Storytelling Skills

And here without further ado is the final product. The Seminole Swamp Morning Show:

Students are so proud of their work, that they are preparing to invite their parents into the classroom to present the story “Behind the Scenes” of the creation of their video.

By taking images of every step of the process, we created another storyboard. This time we used PowerPoint to show the scenes. Each student will be responsible to tell about one step of the process with the appropriate  slide being projected in the background.