Lauren Bounds is a 1st Grade teacher at the Thackston School in Knoxville, TN. In this guest blog post, Lauren tells the story of using BrainPOP as inspiration for making a solar system movie with her students. Most notable Lauren explains that the process – “was not as overwhelming as I thought it would be.”
It was a bit overwhelming at first when I first came across the idea (in a wonderful BrainPOP webinar) of incorporating movie making into my class by making our own version of a BrainPOP video. I loved the idea, but simply couldn’t grasp where I could begin or even if I would be able to accomplish the task with such a young class (1st Grade).
So I did the only thing I could think of: I shared the idea within our classroom community. My students were ecstatic about the idea of making their own BrainPOP video and immediately began a “discussion” about who would be Moby. We decided to brainstorm ideas about a video together and they came up with some really remarkable ideas with minimal help from me. After seeing their enthusiasm and hearing their ideas I felt a lot more confident in our ability to take on this project. We first began with deciding the topic of the video. We had been working on a unit about the Solar System (which they loved as well…I have great kids who get excited about a lot of wonderful things!) When the idea for the solar system BrainPOP was introduced, it was voted as the topic in a unanimous vote. I agreed wholly with their topic choice.
We began by talking about all the steps we would need to take in order to make this video happen and the format that our video would follow. My students made a list to track all the things we would need to complete to finish our project. I had visited our local library and gotten a plethora of books on their level about the planets. The first step they decided on was to use those books as resources and make reports about each planet. I put my students into pairs and each pair made a report and a picture for the eight planets in our solar system and the sun. Once the reports were complete we knew we needed to make a script to follow. They decided on some things that they really wanted to include in the video, such as the planet song we had been singing in class and Moby blasting off to outer space. My next step was to teach script writing and review the writing process. Then I had my students tell me what they wanted Annie to say in the video and we wrote it down together. We made a rough draft, edited it, and finally were ready to film.
We casted the parts of Annie and Moby (we drew names from a hat to decide who would get these coveted roles). Then each student read their report about one of the objects in our solar system while I videotaped their reading. In an older class I would allow a student to be the videographer or even in first grade if you have school cameras. However, we were using my own personal video camera for this one so I assumed that role. Once we were finished taping the reports we worked on filming Annie’s speaking parts. With just a few tries we captured all the scenes we had written and the video was ready to be edited.
My students were extremely excited when they saw the end result of their video. They begged many times to watch it over and over again. Reflecting back on the whole process, it was not as overwhelming as I thought it would be. When your students are excited about a topic and ideas are flowing freely within your classroom community the process turns into something both enjoyable and rewarding.