Saturday, December 21, 2013

Celebrate This Week!

This is week 10 of the habit of keeping an eye out all week long for what we'll celebrate with Ruth and the others who link up at ruth ayres writes.

There was no question in my mind what I would celebrate this week. I emailed Franki immediately and claimed the Celebration Post for this week.

I wanted to celebrate the last day before Holiday Break. No, not because it was the last day before break (...okay, maybe a little), but because of what we did and the feeling we left with.

About a month ago, the Tech Support Teacher (TST) with whom I've been working sent an email suggesting we try Common Craft Videos. Here's a video that explains what they are and how to make them:

After break, our fifth graders are going to be doing persuasive presentations on the topic of their choice. My students have worked with Keynote, so I wanted them to have another tool from which to choose for the way they would present their argument. Common Craft videos seem like they'd work.

But before jumping in and doing it with their persuasive topic, I knew they would need to experience the process themselves.

I decided we would make a Common Craft music video on the morning of the last day before break.

Crazy, right?

They were motivated and focused. They worked really hard. They collaborated without arguing. I got to do that thing where you get them started and then step back and watch them take over and make it happen. Leaders emerged. Followers willingly followed. Not that my heart was Grinchily small to start with, but I did have a "heart growing two sizes and breaking the frame" moment as I watched them work, and when we celebrated our success at the end of 2 hours.

Yup. Two hours, start to finish:
1. watch the Common Craft video
2. listen to the song (just visualize possible images)
3. listen to the song with lyrics in front of you (sketch possible images)

4. take volunteers to make each image
5. draw, color, cut
6. practice, problem-solve, practice, teacher messes up, practice, success!

getting the images in order to slide under the camera

iPad is ready to record, iPhone is ready to play music,
images are ready to slide through the recording space,
team is ready with script to catch the images that need to
come back for the chorus

7. students and teacher spend the morning singing this song together:


  1. Anonymous7:21 AM

    Bravo! This is brilliant, Mary Lee. I can't wait to share this with my colleagues. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  2. Absolutely love it! What a great way to keep kids engaged and learning on the last day of school. So powerful. Can't wait to see their persuasive presentations!
    Clare and Tammy

  3. Amazing! I have an iPad coming to at school. Now I already have an idea what to do! Thank you!

  4. Holy cow! On one hand, I'm really glad to be on vacation! On the other hand, I can't wait to try this! May have to convince the boys that we need to try a family project!

  5. Wow. This is a great way to spend a day before a break. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Fabulous....I am going to look into this for sure. Merry Christmas. Enjoy the break.

  7. Wow amazing and congrats!! Again borrowing your ideas in 2014. Thanks

  8. Anonymous12:57 PM

    Yay! What a nice accomplishment to end a school term with!

  9. Fun creation and amazing work keeping kids engaged day before break! They made it look easy!

  10. Bravo!! You were much more productive than I was on the last day before break. :) I love this. It's giving me an idea of a way for my students to present information to our second grade buddies on healthy living. I'm going to borrow this idea too. Merry Christmas!

  11. Very cool! What a way to end the year!

  12. I love this! I'm working with images to for reading but the idea of doing a video for writing simply rocks. Thank you for sharing. I know what I'll be doing on the first week back.

  13. I am going to join in on the long list of kudos and "idea theft", Mary Lee . Thank you!

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  15. That is so clever and fun! Thanks for sharing! I plan on trying this next trimester. :)

  16. What a wonderful project and fantastic way to kick off your break. Awesome!


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