A Fabulous Multimedia Project for the End of the Year
A Fabulous Multimedia Project for the End of the Year
Editor's Note: Amy Sylvester's creative multimedia project is just the thing for those final weeks of the school year. After reading, discussing, and analyzing a Scope play, Amy's students turn it into a gorgeous digital flipbook by recording a reading of the play and illustrating it themselves. This fun and collaborative project can be done whether or not you're a 1:1 classroom. It calls for just a few devices and some basic software. Amy and her fellow teacher Matt Mankiewicz collaborated on this project.
I do this project at least three times a year with Scope plays—which are always a big hit in my classroom. I love this project because it builds students' reading confidence and lets them stretch their creative muscles. It's also great fun! For the example project described below, I used the The Tell-Tale Heart (based on the classic Poe story) from the September issue of the magazine.
What you'll need:
any Scope play, such as this one
at least one iPad or computer per group
movie editing software, such as iMovie, or presentation software, such as PowerPoint or Keynote
audio recording software, such as GarageBand
speaking; listening; using multiple mediums, including digital media, to visually express information
5-6 class periods: 3 periods to practice reading the play and create the pictures, and another 2-3 periods to record the play, choose music and sound effects, and put the slideshow together
NOTE: By the time students do this project, they have already read and analyzed the play in class and learned about Edgar Allan Poe.
1. Divide students into groups and do a practice run
- Divide the class into groups of 8-10 students. The groups should be big enough so that each student gets at least one part. If there aren't enough parts to go around, some students can take on multiple roles.
- Have students highlight their role(s) in the magazine so they can follow along easily.
- Have each group read through the play once or twice for practice. By this point in the unit, they have all read the play 3-5 times before, so they are very familiar with it.
- As the groups practice reading their roles, circulate around the room offering tips and advice.
2. Record the play
- Once the students are comfortable reading their parts, they find a quiet spot in the classroom, gather around in a circle, and record a reading of the play.
- You can use any audio recording software, but I like GarageBand because it's pre-loaded on our iPads. Since we are 1:1, I have all the students record the play on their own devices so that they each have their own recording to refer back to as the create their illustrations. If you are not 1:1, students can record on one device and then share the audio files with the group using Google Docs, Dropbox, etc.
- The recording sometimes takes two tries to get it right, so this can be a little time consuming.
- As the groups record, continue circulating around the room to make sure they are on the right track.
3. Create a storyboard
- Students determine as a group which parts of the play they want to illustrate, considering which elements are most important and which lend themselves best to visual representation.
- The students create a storyboard on Google Docs (so that it can be shared among the group members), sketching out what each illustration will look like.
- Review all the completed storyboards and provide feedback to each group to help refine their ideas.
- Once the storyboards are set, the students divide up the illustrations so that each student creates about three. Each group should end up with about 23 illustrations for a 10-minute recording.
- I created the below document for groups to keep track of who is creating which illustrations.
4. Create illustrations and add sound effects
- Students create their illustrations then scan them.
- I like using iMovie to create the digital flipbook, but you can use any simple movie editing software, or even PowerPoint.
- Students upload their images and organize them according to their storyboard.
- At this point students also add music (iMovie has copyright-free music, but students can choose to add their own music too) to enhance the mood of the play. They can also record sound effects for extra pizzazz (such as opening a squeaky door or beating shoes against the floor to simulate clomping horses).
5. Share it out
- Have each group share their finished product with the rest of the class. (Google Docs is an easy way to do this.)
- Each group selects one person to talk about the group's work, walking through their process and decisions, and highlighting any challenges they encountered.
- Because each recording is about 10 minutes long, it's impossible to share them all in class, so I post all the movies on Google Classroom so that students can watch everything on their own time.
6. Peer review
- Assign students the task of watching 2-3 of the flipbooks and providing feedback to their peers. I think it's important for students to have an opportunity to provide constructive peer feedback. Through this process they also learn how they might approach the project differently next time.
By the end of the unit, even the most reluctant readers have become very confident because they have been so deeply engaged and feel they have ownership over the work. This translates to improved fluency, no matter the students' reading level. I am always surprised by the kids who typically don’t volunteer to read aloud in class but who become very engaged and perform impressively nuanced readings. And there's a part in this project for every student—more technologically inclined students can play a larger role in editing the slideshow and the sound effects, while more artistic students can help think up inventive ways to visualize the story. Even though each group is using the same source material, I'm always astonished by the diversity of the flipbooks that students produce!
Here's an example of a finished project:
Amy Sylvester is a 6th-grade teacher at Golden Hill Elementary School in Fullerton, California.
Matt Mankiewicz, a fellow Golden Hill teacher, collaborated with Amy on this project.