Since Christmas our Year 5 Humanities inquiry has been looking at the Moving Image. We tuned in with a bit of theory and worked out what we did and did not know, then we went into a series of mini investigations into what the Moving Image is and how it has changed over time. From shadow puppetry of the Han Dynasty (Pretty important when you live in China) to the Camera Obsucra to the invention of the camera and film – all were delved into, but what really took the fancy of the students was Silent Movies and the way that they were able to capture the imagination and hearts of an audience without a word being spoken.
Le Voyage dan la Lune (1902) really intrigued their thinking and then the slapstick of Laurel and Hardy caused raucous laughter. The pace, volume and tempo of the music excited the class and when something sad or serious happened in a film the change in music was depicted on each child’s face. I had never truly appreciated the power of the silent film and it took watching them in the presence of children who have unlimited access to technology to see the power of the stories being told without the use of colour or word or special effects.
So now my teacher brain kicked in again, what was the teachable moment here and were were the cross curricular links. The class had learned the skills of using iMovie on the iPads and iMacs, but now would come the opportunity to create using what they had learned. Literacy skills were engaged with script writing and drama techniques were researched as the class identified that without words the actors would need to over act. As our audience would be younger students, we identified that slapstick humour would be the most successful acting genre. I was quite chuffed when a student stated that music was incredibly important, but it would be very difficult to create any that would be effective on Garageband quickly, so we should find some some music that we could use under a Creative Commons license. This led us to Royalty Free Music, which allows you to search through different categories and even has a Silent Movie category.
Now once the planning and facilitating and questioning and idea challenging was over it was my time to sit back and watch in wonder as my Year 5 class kicked into movie making mode. It was a joy to see the social skills, ICT Skills and the co-operative learning environment that we have developed over the past 6 months flourish. They took their scripts, filmed, edited and re-filmed extra shots after reflecting on what they had created. They sourced music that they thought would suit, trialled it and then chose a different track or sped up their chosen track. The finished products were far beyond what I expected and a pleasure to watch for both the finished product and the process that they had gone through to create their masterpieces.
When we shared them to the school at assembly they were met with emotions of suspense and laughter. Over all it was a huge success and such a powerful learning experience for the class and a joy for me to see the time we had spent learning how to use an iPad being applied in such an enjoyable way. Below are two of the movies and I hope you enjoy them.