Monday, February 08, 2010


We've had a great couple of weeks working with FRAMES and Stop motion. The kids are learning so much and their creativity is so fun to watch. I only have each class every four days so kids have only had about two 20-minute blocks of time to work, but their growth is so amazing. I've even had about 15 kids ask to come in during recess a few days this week so that they could work a bit more. That extra time allowed them to problem solve a few things.

I think if you walk in and see what kids are doing, it looks like it is just a fun thing. But in reality, I think creating video can be a key to becoming critical readers and viewers. As I continue to reflect on documents that help us think about how literacy is changing and growing as the tools change and grow, I am trying to figure out ways to get this into our kids' days. All of the 21st Century Frameworks and Standards (NCTE, ALA, P21) address the importance of visual and media literacies. It is going to become more and more important for our students to be critical viewers of information.

What I am finding goes back to what I understand about the writing process. If kids write regularly, they become better readers. And if they read regularly, they become better writers. The same holds true for any type of media creation. If our students have time to create multimedia projects, they start watching things differently. Just as they learn to "read like a writer", they are already learning to "view like a creator". Already this week, kids are coming in with examples from the real world of TV and YouTube telling me about a commercial they saw and thinking about how and why it was created. For our kids to become critically literate, this includes not only text but visual information. I find that giving them the tools to create is the best way into this kind of thinking.

I happened to find a great book at the Scholastic Book Fair a few months ago. I put it aside not thinking much about it but picked it up again this week. I do believe that books come to you when you need them and this one was perfect for this week. This book meets so many of the needs that I have right now. The Klutz TRICKY VIDEO book was a huge hit this week. In the book, there are 20+ video tricks shown with the how-to for kids to try. The book shares some pretty interesting tricks and makes them very accessible to kids. But the best part is the accompanying website. I couldn't have been happier when I discovered it. The site is and it is an ad for the book. But it leads you to the page that shows you the 20+ video segments discussed in the book. The clips are short and fun to watch. At the end of each clip, you are directed to the pages in the book where the creation secret is revealed. So, this week's lesson was quite fun. I shared the site and we watched a few together--trying to figure answer the question: How did they do that?

Knowing that lots of kids would want the information from the book, I purchased 3 copies of this book. I kept one in book form and cut apart the other two so that I could post all of the pages on foam board posters around the library. This way, lots of kids could use the foam boards to figure out what was going on. Kids picked them up and took them to their spots near their laptops. Other groups gathered at the foamboards and had great conversations about what was going on. I love the invitation that these foamboards created. I will keep these handy in the library, hoping that kids carry them to their work areas when creating film, etc. A great tool for viewing and creation.

TRICKY VIDEOS is one of my favorite finds of the year. I have been thinking about all of this since September when a student asked, "How did they make that?" after watching the book fair video. When thinking about visual and media literacy skills, Klutz has made it easy for us, as teachers, to get kids thinking about these things. The combination of website with videos and book of explanations was absolutely brilliant of KLUTZ. Such a great learning tool for kids. And a great learning tool for teachers too--so many things made accessible for those of us who don't understand how these things work. I can see so many great benefits of film making for kids and this book helped provided has been a great resource for my own thinking as well as my students'.


  1. This is great. I love the site and had not heard of the book before. Might be time to cash in a few Scholastic points.

  2. This is great encouragement to jump in and give it a try. The book looks very cool.

  3. I so want to try this with our kids.

  4. Can't wait to see how you do this, very cool!

  5. I want to spend a week in your library!

  6. My son has just started staying on at school once a week to make stop-motion films - something I know next to nothing about - this book sounds great. Thank you! And what a brilliant, interactive way to use the book, having it pasted up for students to carry around and discuss.

  7. I can't wait to share this with our art teacher! We are meeting this week to brainstorm stop motion video projects. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Franki, I might just have to move in and live at your library for a week. Too many great things are happening there. I am definitely interested in exploring this.


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