The first time I attended a DEN event I shared a wiki I created that highlights Discovery Education videos that go along with pictures my library was awarded through the Picturing America Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Because of that little bit of sharing I was chosen to attend a workshop with Dr. Lodge McCammon that changed the way I approach teaching and the use of technology. Dr. Lodge shared various techniques for using Flip video cameras in the classroom through a project called FIZZ.
I had avoided using video because of the amount of time it took. I only see each class of students in the library for 50 minutes a week. Video was too time consuming. Dr. Lodge’s methods changed my thinking and the result was learning and the learning was fun! Fun for me, and fun for my students, they actually said, “that was fun.” Imagine having fun in library class!
I downloaded Lodge McCammon’s song, “We the People,” from Discovery Streaming, it is also available on his website along with the lyrics. I made copies of the lyrics and handed them out to my students.
I was a lot worried because the song says it is recommended for grades 6-12 and I was handing it out to 4th graders. I felt a little better looking at the Discovery Education Teacher's guide because it recommended it for grades 5 to 12 but I was still a little concerned. After a little tweaking of the assessment provided in the teacher’s guide, I brought the students into the library and showed the students the video on Dr. Lodge's song page. And I explained what they were going to do. I told them in order for this to work they had to work together while listen to the song over and over again. Practice a lot and read the lyrics over and over to better understand what they were doing. I had a table full of props and told them they could use whatever they wanted and create whatever was not there that they needed.
I know it worked with the adults in my DEN group but would these 4th graders be able to handle it? You be the judge here is one of the videos my 4th grade students created for Constitution Day. Perhaps the best part of the whole adventure took place the following week when the students got to see their video and then take the tweaked assessment. The entire class did exceptionally well on the assessment! So not only did we have fun… it was even educational! Oh, and make sure you notice that Patriot Pete took part in the chorus!