Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Video and the Spanish classes

For the past several years, I have been working with a Spanish teacher making videos, this project has grown over the years and has improved the language skills of these students.

The first years of the project I would meet with the students to discuss video planning and visual language in movies, the students would then put together scripts. The teacher now handles this part, which is great. Right now my role is to help out with editing, this being the labor intensive part, and the teacher cannot help all groups at all times.

In the beginning she only worked with Spanish 3 students, with the task of putting together a Spanish soap opera, each group of 4 would make their own. The later years the class would work together, with each group working on a subplot to the story, usually a large group scene in the end. These projects have become more sophisticated over time, and look better.

The Spanish teacher now has all levels of students doing videos, this morning I will work with them in editing a newscast. The idea is that all group have the same clips and they are to edit to make it look best. They worked together on the scripts and shooting, now need to put it together. This is similar to an assignment I had in a video class in college, we all shot the same thing and made different stories, we were not involved in the script, just had several takes of several scenes and had to make sense of it.

I have always felt that having students making a video is a valuable lesson, we are working in groups, developing ideas, writing scripts, thinking about visual language, budgeting time and resources. It is a form of expression that some students excel at, similar to some students excel at writing, some are good at video. I struggle to put my thoughts on paper, but to video the ideas is easy and effective for me to do.

I have been hoping that video making would expand to other classes, and it has to a small extent, not the level I would like. The ELA teacher who worked with me in having the students video short stories has left, and there has been no interest in picking this up in the creative writing class or any other ELA class. This is a disappointment.

For anyone that cares we use iMovie and various digital video cameras. Getting them to use a tripod when I am not there is another story.

Off I go to work with them…

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