Challenge Accepted: #Five4Five (Days 3-5)

Well, if you missed my post over days one and two, I would suggest backtracking to that blog for the premise behind my approach to the #Five4Five Challenge and my first two examples. Below are the daily, new-to-me video endeavors/projects I created or co-created over the course of these three days. My hope in sharing these pieces is that others might find an idea or an approach they can take away and apply to their own classroom practices.

Monday, February 5th: White Hot Flames and Workout Frames

Today actually afforded me the chance to work on two new-to-me experiences, one in our high school welding course and the other in the high school’s Strength and Conditioning 3 course.

  • Part #1 (Welding): Our high school welding teacher, John Bombac, and I have been planning the creation of 45, one minute-or-less videos that detail the subtle procedures for setting up a weld or that demonstrate the physical technique of the weld itself. That last part is especially challenging given the sensitivity of the camera to the welding flame and the need to drastically drop the camera’s exposure enough to capture the fine details of the weld. Some of our early efforts ended up in nothing but a white halo or ball of light at the point of the weld. But on this date, we figured it all out and recorded a pretty detailed look at the OA welding technique. One down, 44 more videos to go lol.
  • Part #2 (Strength and Conditioning 3): Previously, one of our elementary school PE teachers had expressed an interest in differentiating his lesson activities by ability level (and at times creating choices for any given activity set). Through the use of gifs and timers, he had hoped to develop a timed presentation or movie that would facilitate these choices or differentiated options on a screen for his students. This idea had come from an observation he had once done at our high school, so to better understand what he was hoping to accomplish, I spent time in Strength and Conditioning 3 on Monday.
  • What I learned was that they use a program called Rack Performance as a way to organize and facilitate large groups of athletes progressing through a timed workout. This program accounts for warm-ups, equipment setup time, rest, and also the time allocated to complete each activity; it is also capable of facilitating both individual and/or small group team workouts.
  • Today’s video: First, I created six sample gifs (that are NOT for elementary use – just as an example) using the Giphy website. I added three of those gifs to one PowerPoint slide along with a 30-second timer. I repeated the process for a second slide, and then set both slides to auto-advance in 30 seconds time. After adding an opening and a closing slide, I ran the PowerPoint while my Quicktime screencast was recording. That screencast video I’ve shared below, and I hope to replicate this process with actual elementary PE indicators for a unit. Conversely, I’m also tinkering with adding gifs to the Rack Performance system in place at the high school to add visuals to their program.


Tuesday, February 6th: 2nd-Grade Video Production

The set of organizational videos that the 6th graders created (*see my day one post) will be used as instructional content for a 2nd-grade choice board that we are currently developing. However, the 6th grader indicators do not include Description, which is one of the writing structures taught in 2nd grade. So before the choice board can launch, we need a Description video. Thankfully, Oakdale 2nd grade teacher and PBS Digital Innovator Alli Pontious offered the opportunity to develop the Description video with one of her students.

By this date, this student and I had met once for 45 minutes, and she had nearly finished writing the entirety of the script in one sitting. It was seriously impressive. So today, we met to finalize the script and film the instructional portion of the video. Now it’s not easy being on camera and reading from a script. Your mind has to balance the processing of what you are reading and your verbal fluency all while you simultaneously manage your own facial/physical posture. That’s a lot to ask of anyone, especially someone in second grade! So my new-to-me experience for today was filming a video with a second-grade student, though honestly, she was a pro. Here are a few snippets from her video that I’m pieced together to share in this blog. There’s still editing to be done, but you’ll see just how phenomenal she was with creating this piece.


Wednesday, February 7th: “Maycomb Madness” Onboarding Video Production

Recently, I met with high school English 2 teacher Holly Currie who wanted help gamifying her upcoming To Kill a Mockingbird unit. Her goal was to theme the unit around the NCAA men’s basketball tournament that would be taking place at the same time (and is always on the minds of students during the time this unit is delivered – so why fight it right?!?!). The nuances of the game are intricate so I won’t be spending time detailing what that experience will look like – she and I will chat about it in an upcoming podcast, but on this day I developed a fun onboarding video that will kick start that unit in her classroom.

The video itself features basketball player highlight clips, and periodically (when the shot is clear and slow enough for this step), we took images of the TKAM movie characters – cropped around each character’s head – and superimposed those heads over the heads of the basketball players in the clips. To do this, I learned that all you have to do is lay a cropped image over a video in iMovie. Then you select the Picture-in-Picture feature to bring the cropped image into the frame over the video itself. From there, you can resize the image and reposition it wherever you like. So after I added those faces and a little music, we had a unique, onboarding mashup that we can use as the trailer to Holly’s “Maycomb Madness” game. (Sorry, I can’t share the video as the faces are not mine to share)

To anyone still reading, thank you for following me on my #Five4Five journey. I hope one of my experiences sparked an idea. Please know that I’m always happy to collaborate if you want to chat. Special thanks to all the terrific Westside teachers and students who I had a chance to work with during these five days. I love the boundaries you all are pushing with video production to support learning in our district. And last but not least, thank you Michael Matera for starting this challenge and leading the charge for others to complete a #Five4Five. This year I’ve really tried to make it a goal to create more content (given how much media I consume), so I would encourage anyone and everyone to take on this challenge for the personal growth in it — try new things, reflect on those new processes, and then don’t be afraid to share your ideas with others.


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