George Lucas Educational Foundation

My first video play with children had great social and emotional side effects

My first video play with children had great social and emotional side effects

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I haven't worked with moving pictures very much, still photography has been my choice in hobby and work, but a summer teaching experience at a summer "camp", with sometimes 48 children, gave me the perfect opportunity and inspiration to try out a video play. I first introduced the camera to them from many different perspectives, interviews, their reading odd/creative (self made) poems, and just using it during their play time. More often than not I let the children run the video. The video clips collected until a few weeks ago, as summer camp is now ending, there were 1072 of them (yeah, yeah, I am a tad hyperactive...). As the summer progressed I thought about the story of "Romeo and Juliet" as a story to act out with them through the video camera. The look on the faces of the children as I told them the underlying story was amazing! The first graders were not enchanted with the idea of a double death at the end of the story, but the second through eight graders were enthralled. (Of course I told them all about the opportunity to view the play with two different endings.) Everyone wanted to be the actors! The way our hour long classes run, three age groups, one after another, two days a week (for this subject) I was forced to use different actors for each character all the time, it was not a problem, and in fact has lent to the charm of this play. I needed swords for so many scenes (of course!)but my personal funds went to so many toys/supplies all summer long that by this time I was quite tapped out so I grabbed four fir (wood) strips that were way too long and yet I knew would make charming cumbersome mock swords. They did!!! (One little girl, stepping in for a "boy part", fought a sword scene and was right on top of a boy who was clearly stronger and taller than her, she rocked!) Every piece of this experience has been a layer of interesting and of learning. You should have seen the small boys who volenteered to say some goopy stuff about Juliet! (I always warned them what was coming.) The deep enjoyable laughter as they spoke the words and even now as the children view these scenes over and over again. I scketched out the scenes, told the children what was happening scene to scene but let them use their own words which was great for their self confidence. I took the videos home last weekend and opened my first "movie" software and learned how to stitch the scenes together. Way too much fun and something I have always wanted to learn to do. As soon as I got into school on Monday I have had the laptop up all week and I have been teaching all the children how to do the same thing. We are now creating "little movies" of their summer adventures for "Parents Night" next week. The laughter and giggles, the personal (emotional) risks the children took, the pride they have in all of their accomplishments has been just a few of the positive bi-products beside the outcome of a lovely piece of work (of which we could not complete, but, it doesn't even matter...). These children have grown inside themselves this summer, and with each other*...

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Amy Erin Borovoy (aka VideoAmy)'s picture

Thanks so much for sharing this story, Jennifer, and all the ways in which working with video benefited you and your students! Admittedly since I'm a video producer I'm a little biased ;-), but I think video can be such a great teaching tool in so many ways, and it's great to hear that validated from someone in the classroom.

Check out this short video about a 9th-grade English teacher who makes Romeo & Juliet come to life for her kids by letting them do their own artistic interpretations:

YES Prep Makes Learning Relevant (

Imagine if she had given them video cameras!

susan stanaway's picture
susan stanaway
Spokane, WA ; recently retired primary grade tcher; TOSA giftd n reg. class

Love the idea! Taking a workshop ---I'm a total newbie---would help me gain some confidence. I'm just imagining other texts and situations ...I guess I'll have to head to the technology area.
Here's to your courage. Just look how it paid off!

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