small voices, episode 22

The post is for anyone interested in how long it takes to make a video podcast in the classroom from start to finish. I am in the process of uploading my 4 minute Quick Time file to my podomatic site. Maybe it’s my cable this evening but the upload is scheduled to take 3 days!? I’ll try again from school, tomorrow. Only 6 more days of school left this year and today marks my final small voices episode for school year 2006-2007. Part of our morning routine this year has included turning on the TV and watching the 5th graders host and operate The Cheetah Channel. Each day they say, “Good morning and welcome to The Cheetah Channel”. Each Wednesday is Wacky Wednesday and the entire school chimes in with The Cheetah Song, a take off from an old camp song. Wednesday I spent an hour of our Language Arts time sequestered in the mulit-media room in order to film the kindergarten version of the Cheetah Channel. We finished with a few minutes to spare.

What went on inside the room, you ask? Well I was lucky enough to have a parent volunteer on hand to take pictures, and my Peer Facilitator (teen helper). Tiffany helped to manage the chaos on stage while I gave direction and shot the footage. Before we got started I sat all of the students down and explained a little bit about the equipment. The were not the least bit intimidated nor were they overly thrilled an anxious to push all the buttons. I placed my anchors at the desk and lined up the guests in order of appearance. The students who would be saying the pledge lined up next. The remaining students were positioned at the sound board, the switcher, the computer and the video camera. All of the equipment was turned on so the students could see, hear and control the experience to a certain extent. If anyone in the school had turned on channel 3, they would have had a private showing of our Cheetah Channel!

Monday this week we practiced during small group rotations. I went over the script with the anchors and guests. I wrote out the pledge and we talked about every word. “And to the Be-public of which his stands, one nation under God, in a visible…” We even went over the hand and the heart but alas, right, left and timing don’t always come together as planned. (see podcast). The singers practiced their lyrics and motions. They identified the rhyming words in the song.

Ready on the set! I began filming sequentially after panning the room. I had to stop a few times to quell the rowdiness and extraneous noise but despite these brief set backs things went relatively smoothly. The next day I uploaded the raw footage to the computer. I had 10 minutes. I added another 2 minutes of two girls who had been absent and some footage of the real Cheetah Channel showing our principal Mr. Trussell. Later in the day while the kids rested after a 4 hour Field Day adventure, I began the editing process. I use Pinnacle Studio 10 on my Dell. My video card is really not up to snuff and my hard drive on the verge of choking from data overload, but I was able to squeeze out two more GB’s of space for my raw footage.

In short, it took me three hours of editing to cut, paste, transition, voice over and add intro/outro sound. The footage went from 10 minutes to 4 minutes. I started on school time, 2:30 after dismissal and finished at 5:30 PM. That does not include the upload which still isn’t posted, but if bandwidth wasn’t an issue it would take only a few minutes to complete. I should also include the 15 minutes of time I spent uploading, editing and posting my podcast-episode photo.

Measuring the Project Duration:

Planning – 1 hour during small groups and 10 minutes at the end of the day before dismissal, I assigned jobs.

Practicing – 1 hour of small group

Executing – 1 hour of whole group LA

Producing – 3.5 hours of uploading, editing and exporting, plus image editing.

Total Curricular time: 3 hours
Total Teacher time:
3.5 hours

This is the first time I ever really analysed the time spent. I wonder if this ratio will hold true for other projects. I also wonder if it is a reasonable ratio or if the teacher time can be reduced to a more manageable level.

Impact on Students: How can this be measured?

Standards: To be added soon.

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One Response to “small voices, episode 22”

  1. AllanahK Says:

    A great effort, Kathy. My class will love hearing the Pledge of Allegiance spoken! When we try it we are ‘invisible with liberty for all’.

    This sort of thing does take time but the enjoyment and long lasting benefits are worth it.

    I am struggling to quantify how digital experiences enhance learning but I am positive they do. Maybe children wouldn’t necessarily do better in a multi-choice test by participating but then how much real learning is assessable in a pencil and paper test.

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