Last week provided me with a learning opportunity. In Sara Kajder's book Bringing the Outside In, she reminds her students as we all do all too often, "save early, save often." As I was creating a "model" project to aid my students in the creation of their first book talk commercials for AVID Literacy, my computer froze while I was previewing my finished commercial.
Frustrated and angry, I reopened PhotoStory, knowing all along what I would find. Most of my project was gone, several hours of hard work had just gone down the drain. To make matters worse, there was no way to recover and recreate the lost work before I would see my students later that afternoon. I was ready to have a meltdown, but I turned my catastrophe into a learning experience for me and an opportunity to teach my students to learn from my mistakes.
When class began, I opened my project and shared with my students how my failure to "save early, save often" had actually provided me with an opportunity to teach them how to use PhotoStory. As a result of my mistake, we were then able to walk through the entire creation process, from adding pictures and voiceover to adding music and creating a works cited page. Some students felt that PhotoStory was "easier" than MovieMaker, while others felt more comfortable using MovieMaker because it was what they knew. All in all, my students left class that Thursday feeling more confident that they could create their own commercials.
My "model" project would have shown students a nice finished product, but it would not have given them the same level of confidence that teaching them to create did. Modeling doesn't always mean showing them a perfect finished piece. Sometimes I forget this. Modeling means walking them through the process as well.
Tuesday came quickly, and most students came to class prepared to present their commercials. There were a few of the usual excuses for why a few were not prepared, but I was pleasantly surprised by those who presented. I've uploaded the commercials of students who wanted web publication. I'm having trouble adding one of the commercials, however. I'm not sure if her file is too large or what. Hopefully, I'll figure that out soon.