Make Them Movie Stars


Lights, camera, action! Add a little pizzazz and paparazzi to your everyday lessons and it’s amazing what your students can do! Even your hard to motivate students will give their personal best when they get to star in their own movie production.

“Where do I find the time?!” you ask? I have the answer! Flip video is a simple to use HD camera that even your first grade producers can use. It has one big red record button that starts and stops recording, and a zoom in and zoom out button. It is sturdily made and easy to hold. When the video is recorded, there is a USB drive that flips out of the camera and plugs straight into the computer. No cords to lose! There is no software CD to install either–it’s all in the phone. The only draw-back so far is that the camera uses two AA batteries, and there is no way to charge it.

You can quickly and easily add a title, credits, and even insert music. Uploading the video takes longer than editing it! You can easily teach your (3rd grade and up) students to produce the video themselves. There’s even a flip share app for smart phones so parents and grandparents can watch their little movie stars from anywhere. Digitalwish.com gives a special discount on flip video cameras for teachers. Check it out!

Now that you have an easy way for students to create videos, try these ideas in your classroom:

  • Students make stick puppets for a story they read (see Fairy tale unit), retell the story with their puppets, and turn it into a movie!
  • At the buddy reading center, have students practice fluency then video tape their reading of the story.
  • Video tape your reader’s theater plays.
  • Students write a ‘How to’ story and demonstrate it as they read their story for the camera.
  • Let students be in charge of video taping important parts of a field trip. You can turn parts of your video into pictures too!

Use your science and social studies units to let your students be creative. Let students create their own experiments for the camera. We are beginning our unit on forces in 2nd grade. At the science center I posed a question: Can you make something move without touching it? I provided toy cars, pulleys, blocks, string, magnets, and lots of books about experimenting with force. When students are at the science center, they try to make things move without touching it. If they have a successful experiment, they can record it with the flip video and explain how they made it work.

My class recently finished a unit on weather. They studied how meteorologists reported the news, and they made their own weather forecasts focusing on extreme weather. Check out my classroom website to see these 2nd grade productions!

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