Thursday, September 24, 2009

"How did they make that?"

We learn so much when we listen to the little things kids say. We are getting ready for our Scholastic Book Fair in the library next week. Traditionally, we spend some time the week before book fair sharing the video that shares some of the books, shows clips of authors talking about their writing, etc. Today, when the DVD was over, I expected comments and questions about the books and the upcoming book fair. Instead, one of the kids raised her hand and said, "How do you think they made that video?" Then other kids jumped in and said things like, "Well, they had to do something with animation.", "I bet they used a video camera for the interviews and then put that in the computer.", "They must have had a green screen. Where do you get one of those?"

I loved this conversation for a lot of reasons. First of all, the kids are looking at things like DVDs and naturally wondering how they made it---realizing that they can "make" these things too. As a writing teacher, I know that so much of our work with young writers is helping them to see what authors do and teaching them to ask themselves, "How did the author DO that?" when they find some great element of writing. The fact is that with the new tools of technology, our kids are asking these questions on their own--really looking at something and thinking about how the creators DID that--how they might do something similar. They are so ready to jump in and create. So ready to look not only at the technical part of how these things are created. But soon they'll be ready to look at the craft of these pieces.


  1. You say you expected them to talk about the books in the DVD but instead they tried to dissect how the videos were made, and that's a good thing? In marketing that's considered a colossal failure. It's also a problem that people worry about the videos being so good that kids compare the book with the promo videos they saw and might abandon them when they don't hold up.

  2. I'm with you on this one Franki. I love that they are exploring and getting "behind" the content. Kudos to you for encouraging them to think critically and not stop at the prima facie message!

  3. I think this generation are creators and producers. They are moving beyond the viewing that I did as a child. I watched videos and enjoyed them, they view critically and with an eye to creating. I think that's because they can create and publish so easily. I think its a really exciting perspective and look forward to what they do in the future. My problem is what to call writing today. I originally started calling writing workshop, author workshop, because I was focusing on authoring but now... what do you call it when they are blogging, creating photo essays and music videos? It's so much more than authoring.


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