Friday, March 28, 2014

Show-Feel-Do Maps

Students' storyboards and scripts are in full revision mode this week. Students created some great scripts with powerful examples of human rights violations and what their peers and community can do to help.

Some students at the beginning of the week were struggling to find their focus. They knew what information they wanted to include, but weren't sure how to make that information into a documentary.

I had done an organization activity with a few groups where we began with what we wanted our audience to do, what we needed them to feel in order to act, and what we needed to show them in order for them to feel that emotion. In short, I'm calling them Show-Feel-Do maps. It helped students to make a logical order and organization of what they wanted to achieve and how they needed to go about achieving it.


Students had to first answer the question, "What do you want your audience to do?" Most of what they came up with was a Call to Action or Response. They wanted their audience to do something after seeing their documentary: volunteer, donate, speak up, spread awareness, etc. So knowing they wanted to elicit a certain response, we talked about the fact that certain emotions elicit responses more quickly than others. People respond to guilt, happiness, anger, and sadness and can be moved to action if that emotion is rooted deeply enough. We then had the talk about what information would evoke what emotional response. How do people respond to children suffering? How do people respond to pictures of domestic violence victims? Students had to carefully consider not only how they were portraying information to get that emotional response, but to use that power carefully. Empathy for the people and groups they were representing was first on their mind as they decided what to show.

For some groups, this just helped to solidify the direction of their film. For others, this changed their whole approach.

As of Friday, half of our groups had begun filming and editing in iMovie. The other half are split: one quarter is ready to film as of Monday, the other quarter is still revising their scripts for approval.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Revisions, Revisions

So for the past two day students have been working diligently (for the most part) on their storyboards, scripts, and B-roll for their documentaries. Groups turned these in yesterday for feedback. Coach K went through them individually. For the most part they weren't bad. There was a lot left to be desired in terms of detail.

Students were told that when they created their storyboards that three pieces of information were critical to getting a complete vision before filming. Students had to include Dialogue, Action, and FX. The major problems with storyboards that were turned in were a lack of detail. Students would say something like "Speaker will talk about violations of our right." That doesn't tell me EXACTLY what will be said. Before anyone will be given a camera to film we have to know EXACTLY what will be filmed, including what will be said WORD FOR WORD.

For the most part, students did well on the action and timing of each scene and shot, but please keep in mind that shot and scene times may change when you actually have a camera in hand.

If you are still struggling with storyboarding check out this video for some examples of clarification.

Here are some examples of films under 5 minutes. They are not all documentaries, but at least you can see what a short film looks like.

Do Not Forget:
-Final drafts of storyboards, scripts, and b-roll are all due Friday. You have today and tomorrow to revise.
-Children's Book Revision due Friday
     *Must include 3 critiques and must have begun final product
     *Final Final Product due 3/28
-Mr. Mayes' Middle East Project is due tomorrow!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Documentaries, Children's Books, and MiddleEastProjectsQuoteAnalysis, Oh My!

Today students worked in their human rights groups to determine an "angle" for their documentaries. They drafted essential questions, listed sources to consult, and considered the role they want to tackle for this challenge. 

  • Reporters: grassroots work, plan/set-up/conduct interviews, transcribe interviews, gather research (including information,photos, videos, b-roll, music, etc.), keep log of all actions/findings
  • Screenwriters: view & edit research/interviews (from reporters), study action logs & provide guidance, pull sound bites, storyboarding, script writing
  • Producers: computer editing work, create final product, take all pieces from reporters and screenwriters and match-up (put together narration/script with photos, videos, music, etc.), transition rough work to professional quality

Next week, groups will continue researching, mapping and storyboarding. A rough draft of story boards will be due for critique on Wednesday, March 19th. 

Students are using the project management app Basecamp to organize themselves, their thoughts, their research, their to-do lists, and their deadlines. (And it helps us keep us with them too!) 

Children's Books
Mrs. Soblo returned children's book drafts with LOTS of feedback for students! The next steps, which began with fervor today, have students revising, correcting, and re-drafting their books and then passing these new and improved drafts among their peers for critique and even more feedback. 

Middle East Projects
On Monday Mr. Mayes wants to see a final draft of students' Middle East Culture Project. They will have a BINGO opportunity for this assignment if they need one, but final products are now due. 

Book Thief Quote Analysis
Quote Analysis #2 (as well as any quote analysis BINGOs) is due Monday as well. 
Students had class time Wednesday and Thursday to work on this assignment and receive feedback and extra assistance from Mrs. A. It's apparent that students are getting better and better at this skill with each attempt. Many students finished early this time and have already turned it in! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

It's documentary, my dear Watson.

I crack myself up.

Today we worked in halves.

With Coach K, students were introduced to the idea that we would be putting on a film festival to feature student written, produced, and filmed documentaries highlighting their human right group and violations. Some were more enthusiastic than others but there is SO much potential here for creative license and amazing products, we just can't pass it up. We're shooting for a showing on May 9th to collaborate with D10 and their 'The Other F Word' design challenge on fitness. They are also producing videos and documentaries so we are hoping to offer a double feature and invite the community and school to attend. With a May 9th deadline, this gives students approximately six weeks to plan, write, film, and edit their 5-8 minute films.

Students took notes on the 6 different forms of documentaries according to Bill Nichols, author of Introduction to Documentary. Here are those notes for anyone who did not get them, or needs them again. There is also a page with extra resources and other video examples than the ones we viewed in class.

Students also spent some time with Mrs. A. They finished Part 9 of The Book Thief and she has graciously offered her lunch tomorrow to provide extra help for students who are struggling with their quote analysis. PLEASE take advantage of this opportunity if you are having a hard time, or even just want extra help. She'll be in her classroom during lunch.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Critiques and BINGOs

Students' rough drafts of their Middle Eastern Culture mini-project were due to Mr. Mayes yesterday. He was able to look over them and today students were able to critique their classmates' work.

Students collaborated on a list of qualities that, aside from the required content, a quality final product would need to have. This is the list they came up with:
  • Clear Organization
  • Labels of Parts
  • Bullet points of important information
  • Skimmable
  • Title
  • Visually Appealing
    • Neat
    • Colorful
    • Font Consistency
    • Visuals Incorporated
    • Captions
  • History as well as modern culture
  • Grammar/Punctuation/Capitalization
  • Interesting
    • Relevant
    • Personal
    • Points of Interest 
Students were then given 4 minutes to exchange their rough draft with another group. The first two minutes were spent silently critiquing the other group's project based on the criteria above. The second two minutes were split between the groups; each group had one minute to get clarification on any questions or to give their suggestions. This allowed students to both give and receive feedback on their work.


After four rounds of feedback students were put back in their groups and began to sort through the feedback they were given. They began revisions based on their classmates feedback and will continue those revisions later this week. The final product is due Friday, March 21st but students will have a chance to conference with Mr. Mayes early next week. 

With Mrs. Auspelmyer, students reviewed how to write quote analysis and were given a second assignment to practice their skills. Those students who are still having difficulty with quote analysis formed a small group with Mrs. A talked  about their weaknesses and the feedback they had received. Students who had previously BINGO'ed their first quote analysis were given the opportunity to BINGO that assignment again. Students were also given a second set of quotes to continue practicing their close reading skills. The second set of quotes will be due Monday and that assignment information is here. 


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Deciding on the 'How'

The past few weeks we have been slowly, but surely, chipping away at our Human Rights Design Challenge. Students have presented on their group's right and grades are finally posted on how their presentation went. Mrs. Soblo and Coach K were in Austin last week at SXSWedu and so Mrs. A and Mr. Mayes (Coach West's long term sub) were with the students. They worked diligently on a children's book for Mrs. Soblo and their first drafts have been submitted. Here is that information. She is working hard to get feedback on those so that students can make revisions and hopefully get those into the hands of elementary schools students for even more feedback.

 Mr. Mayes began a Middle East culture project and the rough draft of that is due today. Here's that assignment again, in case you need it. 

For the Human Rights challenge, students were asked to put together a proposal for Coach K on their top 3 preferred methods of delivery for what they have learned. Essentially, students have spent weeks talking about why their human rights are important, why they are worth teaching about, and proving that they have a solid understanding of both of those points. Now that they have achieved those things, they have to think about HOW they want to inform their peers and community about human rights violations both locally and internationally. So, while Coach K was gone students worked on putting together presentations that talked about their top 3 choices of how to present their information. Students, on the whole, did a great job of selling their preferred method of delivery. There were some really great ideas and some not so great ideas. Students were able to give feedback via Google Doc to air out any questions they might have about the presented ideas.

As of Monday, the top three group favorites were a game show, a documentary or film, and a scavenger hunt. Just because they're student favorites doesn't mean that they're the teacher picks, but they will definitely be taken into consideration.

Later on in the week students will get their feedback from Coach K as to which methods were presented the strongest, and which, as a group, we will be moving forward with in the very near future.

Today students are also taking a quiz on The Book Thief (surprise!) and continuing with our bi-weekly EOC practice for the English 1 EOC.