Creating a Student Film Festival

NS Swat film festival

This year, I really wanted my SWAT Team students (Students Working to Advance Technology) to help create an event to reach out to other students. We decided on creating a film festival to promote video creation. At first our goals were quite high and I knew that our first year we needed to start small and build on what we learn in year one. So, that’s just what we did. We decided to create a completely online film festival and we opened the application process to students in grades K-5 in our local school district. We marketed our event, gathered sponsors to award the winners with great prizes (a wonderful incentive to get student participation), and we advertised through our school district and various social media outlets. The films were due on March 3. We received 7 submissions and although I was initially disappointed by the lack of participation, I realized that this year was completely focused around the learning process in order to make next year’s event even better. As I look back, I now understand how this event taught my SWAT Team students so much more than I initally thought! They learned how to create and market an event, how to reach out to our school district, how to create a site where students can upload their videos, and how to gain sponsors. Once the submissions came in,  my students learned the true art of critiquing the videos which were submitted. We talked about various film elements to look and listen for as they watched the videos. We had great discussions after we viewed the videos about what was good about each and what could be improved. We talked about using various filming techniques and camera shots. We talked about how using apps such as Puppet Pals and Drawing Pad within iMovie could enhance films that were created using other methods. I was proud at how my students viewed the videos and how mindful they were to celebrate the risk each of these students took to put their work out there for the world to see. We celebrate the creation of each of these films!

Here’s the video we made to promote the film festival:

North Star SWAT TEAM Film Festival 2017 from April Requard on Vimeo.

Here is a video we made to announce the winners of our first film festival:

2017 Film Festival Results by the North Star SWAT Team from April Requard on Vimeo.

Here are the top three films:

Here is a list of all of the films!

Thank you to all who participated!! We look forward to next year’s Film Festival!

Creating Word Equations: A Rebus Puzzle

rebus

Have you ever created a rebus puzzle? I have to say that I think they are extremely difficult, but really fun. I have seen this really help students with critical thinking skills, perseverance, vocabulary development, and creativity.

So, what is a rebus? It is a picture representation of a name or phrase. Pictures (emojis) are made with letters and words, which form a cryptic puzzle. I think this is more difficult for adults rather than school-aged students because in their world, this is how so many of them communicate when texting or using social media. So, why not bring this in for learning?

Try these puzzles that my students and I have created to see if you can solve them? They vary in difficultly.REBUS.001

Answers at the end of this post! 🙂

Part 1: So, how to make a rebus? There are lots of online rebus generators, my favorite is here. This is a great way to get kids interested and understanding the puzzles. I would recommend having them start with their name. Then, they can start creating basic words, such as phone, flower, chair, colors, etc. I had my students take screen shots of their created puzzles and drop them on a Keynote slide. Then, they switched computers with a partner to see if they could solve one another’s puzzles.

Part 2: Create your own rebus puzzle and sentences. Here’s my example:

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 9.08.11 AM

For this, you can use the built in emojis in your computer or iPad (on computer: control+⌘+space). I find that the emojis are really difficult to see, so my favorite website to find emojis or symbols is copypastecharacter.com. This will also teach students to navigate through two open windows on their computer and practice copy/paste skills as well.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 9.37.22 AM

You can choose what characters you want to view. For this, I used the Emojis and the Numerals

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 9.37.37 AM

All you do is click on the character you want to copy and toggle back to Keynote and press ⌘V. Then, I just had students insert text to add the +- symbols as well as the additional text. This can be carried over into students creating stories with pictures (taking out the + and -) and using the emojis to create pictorial stories.

When my students were creating these, I was truly blown away at their concentration and perseverance to figure these out. Some of them were very difficult, but it was fun and kids have been putting a rebus puzzles under my door and on my desk with hand-drawn pictures, which I think is awesome!

Other websites/apps to practice creating a rebus:

The Rebus Show for iOS

My Rebus Generator

Rebus Creator

Answers to the puzzles above:

  1. appsolutelyapril
  2. tech
  3. keynote
  4. flower
  5. phone
  6. Sentence: “I went to school.”