Teamwork Isn't Easy

by fisserman on Flickr

Last week, my students came face to face with an undeniable fact…. teamwork isn’t easy. Now, these students have been incredible until the day in question in the maturity and flexibility they have shown while working on their project.  Guess what? They are human, and had a bit of a communication breakdown.

I’ll let them speak for themselves on the topic of collaboration…

Today was hard  our team fell apart. We leaned something special  today be kind to team talk it out first. Don’t  fight  about  it. When your team falls apart read my blog and learn what we leaned today.

Abby C.

Today we learned that working in a group is not as easy as it sounds, at all! We decided to work on our presentation and we got pretty much no where so we stopped and we will continue tomorrow.

– Tuscany S.

Most of the time its easy to work with friends, but not always with me. I’m a VERY emotional girl, and very sensitive. But when working with others I tend to want to do a certain part by myself, which, doesn’t always happen. Today we ran into a few problems with our PBL, and most of us did some pretty stupid things and most of us vented into a chat box, which hurt people more than was intended.

– Emily C.

I was impressed with their level of self-awareness and ability to reflect honestly on the experience. ((I’m sure they’d love to hear from you… their names are linked to their posts.))

Colorado History in Stop Motion

I showed students some stop motion videos so they would have a sense of what we were doing in 2D. (Rather than have the additional elements in three dimensional projects, I elected to limit it by using only two dimensions.) Students split into teams of 4-6 and decided on a topic in Colorado History to blend with their showcase.

Time: 4- 30 minute Computer Lab sessions

First, I showed students some stop motion videos so they would have a sense of what we were doing in 2D.  (Rather than have the additional elements in three dimensional projects, I elected to limit it by using only two dimensions.)  Students split into teams of 4-6 and decided on a topic in Colorado  History to blend with their showcase.

Day 1- Student teams decide on concept and mock up idea by all drawing in KidPix.

Day 2- Explanation of background.  Teams decide on background image, draw, and print it.

Day 3- Explanation of moving elements.  Teams divide foreground drawing duties among themselves, draw, and print.

Day 4- Film using camera stills from a regular digital camera.

I asked students to take around 100 images, but it quickly became apparent that was a large number for this age group.  The best process was to have each student on the team take 10 photos, and most groups ended up with around 40 images.

Due to our time limitations, I downloaded all the projects into one iMovie file on my computer.  You can easily make Stop Motion on iMovie by adding the images to the project, then selecting all of them.  You must then do two things:  1) Make sure the “Ken Burns/Crop” is off, and the “Fit” is on, and 2) Use the Inspector to change the time per image to something like 0.2 seconds….. that varied by project.  Some I were longer than others.

The biggest challenge for me was stepping back and letting them work out their issues, especially in filming.  Some of the groups moved the camera or didn’t zoom in close enough (thus the table and tape view you see in some of the projects), but it was fully theirs.  I want to empower them to create on their own, and not have their project be my project.  We’ll have a wrap-up discussion later this week when we watch the movies in class.

Kindergarten Showcase 2010

My students created a project for their Holiday Showcase this year.  I projected the slideshow during the waiting time prior to the start of their program, and parents really enjoyed it. ((There were many of them using video cameras to record the slideshow.))

I need to credit my friend and mentor, Diane McInturff (@giftedteacher) for this idea.  She’s an amazing thinker, and such a blessing to me.

I read the book Someday by Charlotte Zolotow to the students.  Then, we talked about font sizes, shapes and colors.  Using KidPix, students created a new page, typed the word “Someday”, changed the font/size/color, typed their name, drew a picture, and dictated their “I will….” sentence.  It took two 30-minute class periods- one to read the book and model the font concepts, and the second for the students to create the images.  Rather than having them save, I took screenshots as students finished.  Here is the result:

Kindergarten Showcase 2010 from Berthoud Elementary School on Vimeo.

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