I struggled with my mini-documentary. I'm pretty sure a lot of the struggles were due to the emotions running high as I reflected on my journey. I am not one to shy away from a camera, but something about this assignment was different. I'm not used to talking about my work, or myself, in such a way that it is wholly about...me.
When my sister filmed me near the creek, she asked me questions, and I was able to answer them with no problem, and not a hesitation. I talked fast during that session because people were constantly coming by with their kids and dogs, and I didn't know how much time I would have between questions. We stopped filming because it was midday and my niece needed her lunch and nap, and more people were coming by. So we were on time constraints. And our time was up.
A few weeks later, when the weather was nice, I filmed myself in a mustard field near my home. I used three different cameras, and two microphones. I did NOT want to have to do this more than once. It was Easter Sunday, and the lack of my dad and my grandma being alive, really hit me in the feels. I tried my best not to cry on camera, and then thought, "well...it's part of the journey, I guess. Maybe I'll use it, maybe I won't."
I ended up using part of it.
The other struggle I faced were cars, runners, and many bicyclists coming right past me. With all my filming gear, they probably thought I was some wine country vlogger making a video for my fans. I was more worried about what I was saying, or crying, when they came by. Some were kind enough to yell out "Happy Easter!" That made me feel good.
Once I got my broll and aroll done, I had a difficult time deciding how my story would unfold. I thought about how movies that hit me in the feels seem to have a flow of happy, sad, happy. So my original movie had that as the lineup. After receiving feedback, I decided that the sad should be at the end, so as not to take away from the project. I think it turned out perfect in this way. I'm happy with my work. It makes me want to make a REAL documentary (but not about me).
Transliteracy has influenced and informed my thinking around my Capstone Project by making me more aware of what is available to me and my students. I have learned about new websites and techniques to keep my students engaged, and ways to deliver information.
Students should have a seamless transition from home to school when it comes to technology. Many students have tech devices at home which allow them to stay informed of national and global news. Our teaching strategies must reflect that. We can't not allow students to bring their personal opinions and resources into our classrooms! I remember feeling as a student how "out of touch" my teachers appeared to me. They were in their 50's and 60's when I was in kinder! We used a record player that sang us the alphabet songs. Meanwhile, I'm at home recording my music from the radio onto my boombox. We weren't given "voice and choice" back then. I wish we had. I think it would've changed how I felt about math growing up!
In regards to my capstone, I tried to have interesting visual and audio in my documentary. I wanted the website to not be too wordy, but not be all pictures. I added links for people to explore outside of my capstone website and made sure those links were embedded in the reading portions of the pages. To break up the monotony of the reading, I used my logo colors and bold letters to highlight interesting key words or phrases, much like when I read an online article or magazine.
I hope to use my new skills to foster my students' transliteracy skills now and into the future.
I have LOVED the 703 class! I felt like I was learning something I could use RIGHT AWAY. I have been making video tutorials for my colleagues and students for a few years now. I taught myself through asking questions on Google, forums, and friends. I've always enjoyed making short videos and a few times during my career, would wonder if I chose the right profession? But, I know that this skill is merely a hobby and should stay as such.
My favorite part of the class was also my hardest part--the documentary. When I make videos, I'm usually not in them. I do the voiceover, but have other things or people in the visual. I didn't think I'd have a problem talking in front of a camera, but I did! I realized that I would think a lot before speaking and it slowed my speech down tremendously.
I also loved learning different broll techniques. My favorite shot was when I put my tripod on my tall desks and looked down as I took down my posters. It gave me a different perspective and wasn't "up close and personal" like some of my other shots. I can't wait to share the information with my students when we get back to in-person teaching so they can liven up their videos.
I liked that I had the creative freedom to tell my story. At first, I wondered if I should mention my family members who had passed during my journey. I didn't want the documentary to be about that. But as I worked, I realized, that it actually is a big part of my journey. We were in a pandemic, my grandmother was slowly dying, and our childhood neighborhood burned down. Planning a super private funeral held in the middle of the ashes, signified the tremendous loss I was feeling. It made me miss my dad, which in turn, took me mentally away from my family, and my schoolwork.
I ended up continuing on. I love learning, and I'm not a person who easily quits. I put my priorities into perspective and chugged along. I really believe that once I was fully vaccinated, my spirits lifted. I was able to see my family in person again, went hiking more often, and got a new bike! I'm happier and glad I continued, even if I had to crawl.
One weekend, it was a sunny day, and we had a family hike planned. I loaded up my son and our dog to meet my sister, her family, and my mom for a socially distanced hike. We couldn't have asked for nicer weather.
Oh the things I want to do for my capstone project video!!! I really wish I had good B roll from my classroom. Sadly, I do not, as I teach virtually and do not record my students. So that's one thing with which I am struggling. However, I think I can solve that with B roll from the program I use for making videos.
After watching the film noir style video, it inspired me to be me. It's totally something I would've done. However, I'm not sure I could have pulled it off as successfully with a serious side. I'm thinking of making my video be more of a "training video" from the 80's to early 90's. I had to watch many training videos when I worked 6.5 years in a big box office supply retail store in the late 90's to mid 2000's. And my research was on professional development. I'm a huge fan of the sci-fi tv show Lost. In the show, there are training videos from the 70's to train the characters to use substations from the Dharma Initiative. This is is my inspiration. So I drew up what the station's logo will be. Here it is!
My audience will be fellow educators who are coaches. The "training" will be information on why coaching is important and how it should be done during their educators' school day to make it most effective. Some important facts I will include are that professional development needs to be engaging, timely, current, and done within the school day.
In using Logomaker.com to create a new and exciting logo, I was thinking, How can coaching (that is not sports related) be designed in an engaging logo? And this logo also needs to convey that I was coaching during a world-wide pandemic."
The first idea, to the left, has the original "tagline" I was hoping to use. I was thinking about adding some art element to my design because one thing I do, is coach teachers on how to integrate art into their lesson plans. But as I scanned through more promising logos, I saw more potential outside of having the word "paint" in the tagline. Here is the visual progression I came through (located convienently in the slideshow below):
I realized that mixing the colors and playing with fonts really changed how I saw the image. Throught trial and error, I wanted something that was simple and used white space. I wanted to use a large, thick font. When I looked at the logos from previous cohorts, the images that caught my eye the most, were those with one or two colors, large, and used white space.
I started taking the tagline off of the images as I perused, and it really helped. I was able to focus on the logo. Once I had the one I liked, I screehshot it and uploaded it to my iPad. From there, I used the app Procreate. I traced the image and then added my own border around the entire image. I thought of a new tagline and then, played with the colors, settling on two that I liked.
Why didn't I just use the logo I created on the Logomaker website, you ask? I wasn't willing to pay $40+ for an image I could easily draw myself. Despite labeling some of their designs as "free", they are honestly only free to create. But it costs money to use them.
As a Xennial, I try to stay up-to-date on trends that my 5th grade students enjoy (I'm happy to report, that I played Among Us before them.). I know that the world is ever-changing and that today's youth are quite different than "back in my day" youth. I need to allow students to use their skills from the outside world in my classroom. Giving students autonomy in solving problems is more valuable than hand-feeding them the answers. And allowing them to use what they know to extend and teach each other is a brilliant way to foster transliteracy.
Sketchnoting is a great way for students to "show what they know" in a less anxiety-inducing environment. Growing up, I was always doodling in the margins of my notes. Sometimes it was mindless, and sometimes it was just a way to get out what I was feeling at the moment. However, I can not recall a time when I was doodling to take notes. With this modern-day method of notetaking, students can see their drawing and visually remember what they were thinking at the time they drew it. This can be quite helpful when studying.
As an adult who is very visual, I certainly allow my students to draw and doodle if they feel the need to. It helps me pay attention, why wouldn't it help someone else do the same thing? With sketchnoting, it certainly is more productive than mindlessly doodling. I hope to use sketchnoting as a way for students to take notes during their next unit.
Sarah Magallano teaches 5th grade. She also coaches teachers on integrating art & engineering into their lesson plans.