iMovie with G1 students

Filming the X for “Don’t do this!”

Our Grade 1 students were involved in a service unit recently, and one group of students decided to take action by creating a movie about how to play safely in the playground. I was invited to be a mentor to them as they went about planning, filming and editing the movie.

Their teacher, Ms Dakkouri, allowed me some time to teach the whole class some of the basics of filming. We explored:

  • Keeping the iPad steady
  • Not filming into the light (or a silhouette effect would occur)
  • Using different camera angles (such as worm’s eye view and bird’s eye view) to keep the video interesting.
Filming and acting in the playground.

Firstly, I met with the movie group to plan their message, where I acted as scribe. They had a list of dos and don’ts they wanted to communicate to their audience. We mapped out where we might film each scenario, and who would take the role of filming/acting/extras for each section.

Filming became our next priority. With the help of a Justand, the students were able to keep the iPad steady as they recorded. They loved shouting, “Action!” to indicate the start of filming. Several takes were needed in some instances to get just the right shot. 

Collaboratively editing

The students began putting the clips in iMovie, however soon realised they wanted to include a sign like a cross to appear on the clips for what not to do, and a tick for the clips showing what you should do. I had not planned on teaching the students about picture-in-picture, however it was exactly the tool they needed, so I showed them how.

Adding the tick using picture-in-picture

Collaboratively, the students took turns to put the clips in, add the picture-in-picture (with frequent “helpful” reminders to those who forgot how), and include a title. One student observed that it would be, “way cooler,” if we could slow down the clip about the sand being thrown, so that provided another opportunity to show them how to do that. They were gobsmacked! It was wonderful to see them all so excited and engaged.

Finally we finished! They were thrilled to show their teacher, who promised to share the movie in assembly with the whole of the early years students.

What I liked most about this project was that it evolved out of a student inquiry, and that the concepts of film-making were taught as needed, for just-in-time learning. Students were receptive to teaching points because it was real world learning, and that’s what has the most impact on understanding. I hope you enjoy watching our finished iMovie below!

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