Monday, August 30, 2010

As Easy As “3, 2, 1”

(Feel free to sing the title in the style of young Michael Jackson.)

My Youth Empowerment class is nearing the end of our digital story. I’m getting stressed out because of the deadline. My students, on the other hand, are not. They also seem to have lost interest over the past few days as we entered into the phase of serious working.

In today’s class a few things happened to remedy this situation. My strategy can be summarized as follows: 1) give everyone an active way to be involved that makes them feel necessary, 2) make even the hard work fun. This may seem like an obvious strategy but I viewed it as an accomplishment because it’s difficult to find a role for everyone at this stage and it’s difficult for me to make things fun if I’m stressed and the students aren’t working.

As is often the case, the solution to involvement and fun was surprisingly simple. We were practicing the narration as we added photos into iMovie so we used a movie style countdown (starting at five with fingers up for all to see and going silent for the last numbers). Then everyone else was in charge of watching the slideshow during the narration and yelling “Cut!” if anything was not matching. I couldn’t believe how silent people went at the end of the countdown, I should have started using this technique months ago!

And then, of course, because class was fun and relaxed, everything went well and we got tons of work done. Everyone presented great ideas on which photos to use, how to order them, whether or not to change the speed of narration, and minor yet insightful edits to the script. Days like this make you realize how worthless stress is!

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