CSI websites for Science class

I met with Catriona at McNeill to plan a "CSI-like" project in cooperation with two science classes. The goal is to have students create a website, where each student contributes a piece/page and the combined effort results in a "crime solving" website designed to show their learning.

My first step, after creating accounts for the students, was to meet with the classes and go over the "ins and outs" of Richnet. I used the site I had created earlier for McRoberts Day. (Here's the link.)

Once the students logged in with their accounts and submitted the "Acceptable User Agreement", (I showed the students a version of the AUA, with the important points highlighted so they were fully aware of what they were agreeing to) we had them change their password to something they would remember (ie a Facebook password or Hotmail password) and then personalize their "resumé" with fun picture of a hobby or interest they have. (Students were reminded that all content needs to be "Granny Safe"!)

In a second session, I had the class apply for individual web accounts. The plan is to use their Richnet accounts to build their project webpage. (See sample screen shot below)

For each group, students created a common welcome page in each of their accounts, and then added their individual content page. The pages of the other group members were added as "bookmark" links created in the Bookmark folder on Richnet, and then dragged into the Webpage folder. Once the group members agreed on the order of their pages, visitors to any of the group members' site would see the same set of links, in the same order, with a common welcome page. (Last year, each group created their pages in a common Richnet account, but there were problems with work going missing or being deleted inadventantly. The advantage of creating the project in individual Richnet accounts and then linking them, is that each student is solely responsable for his/her individual page and doesn't have to worry about "cyber-vandalism" by a disgruntled group member.)

More Book Trailers - Com 11

Dave G and I worked on creating a booktrailer for "Kat's Fall", the novel his Communications 11 kids are reading.

I demo-ed the the Coraline trailer I had created, and then previewed a few samples from the book-trailer sample sites I used with Krista's class.

In order to help the students focus their thinking, we asked them divide their "trailer" into 8 sections. Dave used a legal sized sheet folded to help organize their work (See below):They put images (or ideas for images) above, and words (or themes, or script) below. Using both sides of the paper gives the students a total of eight pairs of "panels" to work with.

For homework, they looked for images that matched up with their "organizer" and then began assembling them in iMovie. Adding music, sound effects and a voice over completed the booktrailer

The project gave the students an opportunity to share the themes and ideas they noticed in the novel in a fun and exciting way.

Book Trailers

How do you sell a book to students when they are so tuned into video games and the latest DVD releases? Simple: sell the book like it was a movie!

And many publishing houses are doing just that! A quick search using "Book trailer" brings up a wealth of sites. (See below for additional resources)

Krista and I worked on this project with Grade 9/10 English students.

After reviewing her criteria with the group, students spent a couple of days collecting images, video clips, music and sound effects that they wanted to use in their creation. (Many students brought resources from home on a flash drive.)

The class was asked to keep track of where they found their images and clips so they could provide this information in the rolling credits at the end of the trailer. (Cutting and pasting URLs into a Word document works fine.)

I showed the students a demo that I had created based on the book "Coraline" by Neil Gaiman (see below) and then did a quick mock up showing them the steps I used:
  • Use your "script" to plan your images.
  • Load pics and clips into the Media Browser in iMovie.
  • Drag them onto the timeline in the order you prefer.
  • Narrate your trailer onto the top audio track. (You can break the narration into chunks by stopping and starting the recorder. That way, if you make a mistake you don't have to re-record the entire thing, just the offending part.)
  • Add sound effects, music and stingers to the bottom track. (They can overlap one another. If you want better control, the sounds can be mixed in Garage Band then imported into iMovie.)
  • Tweak and tweak some more: add transitions and effects. (But, remember, perfection is only for Hollywood, and multimillion dollar budgets.)
  • Add credits at the end!
Here's my demo-sample:

Here's a list of resources you can use to help you students create their own: