Conferences Video

Bravo, Ladies!

Three students from Heim recently won the Generation YES Go Green video contest. In the contest, students were directed to produce a video about how our school is Green and/or how it could be better at it. In the GenYES spirit, all aspects had to be student-driven. I can tell you without a doubt it was, and doing so proves how much our students can do given the right resources.

Once Caroline was approached about this contest by Mrs. Merlino, she immediately enlisted Mary and Kelly to join in. The only time I heard from them is when they needed a resource, or some guidance in how to do something. They did it all, and a fine job they did.

See the winning video at the Generation YES site here, along with the other talented student winners from California. Their videos will be featured at the National Educational Computing Conference in San Antonio June 29-July 2. Bravo, Ladies!

Learning Video

Performing Knowledge

We recently completed a video project with one of our social studies teachers. This 7th grade project involved students picking one topic from the curriculum, and interpreting it with video in some form. We showed the students some samples from TeacherTube, including some done locally in a Buffalo high school. We then set them loose with teams, storyboards, equipment, and guidance.

What I love about video projects is that since the focus is on performing knowledge, rather than just repeating knowledge, you get a better picture of what the students really know. While this can be either rewarding or scary, it still gets to the deeper understandings they have.

Quite a few different classes have created video projects this year, with some exciting results. I’m looking forward to many more next year!


Image citation:

18th-Century Engraving of Commedia Dell’arte Actors on Stage. Corbis. 2006.
unitedstreaming. 29 May 2008

Content Area Focus Video

Video Poems

We just finished a video poem project with Mrs. Calandra’s classes. The idea came from a Creative Educator article I have on my digital storytelling page. The twist we added was to have the students put imagery to their own original poetry. I have to say I was very excited by the level of work everyone did. I hope to be able to post some of the student work here in the near future (working on the logistics/legal stuff regarding that now…)

In the mean time, the students motivated me to create my own piece. I chose to write a reflective poem about one of my favorite books that I just re-read, Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I also wrote a little refelction on my Shelfari page about the book.

Thanks to the students in Mrs. Calandra’s class for motivating me on this – I hope you like it. (click below to play)

Get the Flash Player to see this content.


Dodging, swooping, yelling, screaming;
Why don’t you stay away?
Useless, crass, dirty, rude;
Please GO AWAY.

I did not see you since you were off on your
When you soared by I thought you were
one of the bunch.

How is it possible we want the same things?
What makes us so much the same although we are
vastly different?

PLEASE let me
fly with you.


Reflecting on our French Video Project

Now that you have finished your French video project on shopping, take a few mintues to reflect and respond to the following questions.

  • Did your French speaking get significantly better by doing this project? Was it easier or harder than if we just did a speaking piece in class?
  • Was there more value doing this project as a movie than doing it as a skit in the classroom?

Your honest feedback is just fine (meaning you won’t hurt our feelings). Please use complete sentences and thoughts – no chat language, please!


Reflecting on Our Digital Storytelling Project

Now that we have finished the personal narrative piece in ELA incorporating digital storytelling, please take a few minutes to answer the following questions.

  1. Do you think your writing improved as a result of this project? Give at least two reasons why or why not.
  2. How was this project different than if we simply wrote a personal narrative?
  3. Would you want to do something like this again?
Conferences Video

Just around the bend…

…is the 2007 installment of the state educational computing conference, sponsored by NYSCATE. I’ve been browsing the program, and there are many interesting sessions to choose from. My favorite part about the conference is getting time to spend with national (and international) experts in educational technology. I’m signed up to spend a pre-conference day with David Jakes, and due to a very recent change in my schedule, I can attend the Constructivist Consortium Celebration (if there is still room) with Gary Stager, Sylvia Martinez, et al. The Celebration debuted at NECC this past July and sounded terrific. I’m glad they are bringing the celebration to New York.

My session, Digital Storytelling to Captivate and Motivate, is on Tuesday at 10:30. I’m really excited about how it has come together. The conference last year helped push me to where I am in helping learners tell their stories (see this post from last year). My presentation is on this page here at pointatopointb.nyscate2007.jpg

Looking forward to a great conference!

Image citation:
“The Quest for Success.” 2007 NYSCATE Annual Conf. New York State Assn. for Computers and Technologies in Education. 11 Nov. 2007 <>.

Content Area Focus Video

Oh, and the Other Thing Today…

So today was one of those “sneaker days” as I call them. Running from project to project and room to room. These days are awesome…

digitaltypewriter.jpgMrs. Leone’s 8th grade spanish class finished the first digital storytelling project for the year today. Students had to be filmed in an interview situation with a partner. The content focus is to review the important basic communication elements they have learned for the past 3 years. The medium allowed them to create their own scenario for the interview. There were some clever ideas, and the time allottment was not big at all – just 3 days of classtime for editing (including exporting/burning). More importantly are 2 things: students were on task and self-directed (motivatied and captivated) since they were working on video of their own creation; and the product is tangible and lasting – the video will exist for as long as we want it to.

We have spawned a series of storytelling projects already this year, and I think we are going to be very happy with the results!

Image citation:
“Typewriter with the Word Digital.” Online image. 5 October 2007. <>

Content Area Focus Video

The Second Full Week – Just as Full

So here it is a week since the last post, and the second full week is done. Were we ever on summer break? I can’t remember it at all now…

Open house was Wednesday night, and I’m very pleased with how our feature video went. We have changed the format of open house a little to where we have a “spotlight” section of about 20 minutes in the middle of the night to feature something about the school. Last year we focused on our Internet Safety efforts with Netsmartz (from the National Center for Missing and Exploted Children), and our in-house website, WITS. This year we used the theme Healty Bodies = Healthy Minds to produce a video about the many ways we promote health and wellness in our building. The shooting and editing of the video was quite hectic due to the deadline, but the results were worth it.

The second activity that started up this week is our 5th graders registering for EM Games. These online math games are part of the Everyday Math program in 5th grade. They are good reinforcement and practice for the skills they need in math. With just a few minutes of login instruction, you quickly hear students gleefully trying to win Factor Captor, Baseball Multiplication and more.

Next week brings the start of 2 digital storytelling projects – one new one and one started last year. The following week I’m doing an inservice on digital storytelling which I think is going to spawn many more projects. Should be quite fun.

Note – this is my first post using ScribeFire, and it appears to work great – thanks to Chris at On the Trails for the idea!

Powered by ScribeFire.


The answer…TeacherTube

teachertubelogo.jpgPerhaps this is the answer to being able to have kids produce and upload videos to a public site that does not also contain the stuff we don’t want kids to see…TeacherTube. Launched in March, TeacherTube has the look & feel of YouTube, w/o the worry of the bad stuff.

I just created an account, and am looking forward to seeing if this will play out as a safe place to share content.


Digital Storytelling

I’m just finishing up with some of my required extra work hours for school. While these hours are a ridiculous paperwork nightmare for everyone, the purpose and focus allows for good study and reflection time.

In a post earlier this year, Video is Hot, I talked about how video captures the minds of students. I have transformed my own thinking about this into what is called digital storytelling. This is by no means a new thing in education – its just that I’ve finally gotten to the point that I understand it enough to work with it more fully. There are lots of great resources available, many of which I have just spent some time with.

What is digital storytelling? There are many definitions, but start by checking out this great video (approx. 2 min.): Momnotmom

The variations for what we can do with digital storytelling in school are as numerous as the number of people in the school. In reviewing the literature, websites, and other resources, 3 websites standout as accessible and useful in the school setting.

Kidsvid ( – this site lays out the 4 main steps of storytelling in akidsvid.gif clear, concise way. It includes an online storyboarding tool where you can create and save storyboards. This site is a good starting place to plan out a whole project. Interestingly, this site was developed by the same group that created Rubistar, the awesome online rubric maker.

Video Storytelling Guide ( – this guide is part of the Atomic Learning site. While access to the full guide requires a paid subscription to Atomic Learning, the above linked free preview gives a good sampling of things to do in the setup of a video project. Inlcuded are 16 sample tutorials, which have great information. Also available at this site is a free downloadable storyboarding software tool called Storyboard Pro.

The last site is produced by the Scott County Schools in Georgetown, Kentucky. Their page, Digital Storytelling Resources, Tips and FAQs, is awesome. It is a launching point to learn all about the tools of the digital storytelling process.

I’m looking forward to implementing some of these new tools in a project that starts next week!