Holding On Only to Let Go
This past Friday, our class had a pretty big deadline. We had to finish our personal narratives, to turn them into audio books, then create and lead assembly followed by a parent share time in our classroom.
No pressure at all.
By the Monday, we had all finished our final copies of our personal narratives but most students were still on the creating of the audio recordings. It became a bit more complicated than expected when we decided to record in iMovie first. This would allow us to reduce the background noise. Then we had to save it as a file, open it in QuickTime and save audio only before importing into Garageband. From there, students were able to edit and add effects to their recordings. Some students chose to record directly into Garageband, however, it created its only problems when students forgot to unselect the metronome and had clicking sounds going throughout the entire recording.
On Tuesday, it was time to look at the assembly, even though some were not done yet. Our class brainstormed a hefty list of ideas they wanted to do, as they always do which included:
- news report about how to make a personal narrative
- commercial advertising their stories
- original music for their news report
One thing to remember is that the news report and commercial had every person in it (as per their request). The students broke into teams and started on their plan. The editors started setting up in iMovie and the videographers got into position with their ipods to record. Due to the time crunch, I wanted to have all the recording for the commercial done by the end of the day. Maybe not the most realistic but still. I found myself slowly creeping into the driver's seat as I tried to move from having one group record in front of the green screen after the next. With limited time, it's easy sometimes to slip back into old habits of guiding the situation more than you should or really need to. Sometimes it's easier to lead because you can get to the same teaching point faster and have the same outcome as your students.
At some point I realised this and put a student in charge of getting the rest of the recording done. Therefore it wasn't coming from me any more with directions. Of course, it continued in the same manner. I really hadn't made the process any more efficient. It is more powerful for them to have more ownership of their work.
I hadn't seen the commercial in 2 days and so I wandered over to the child who was working on it. I was completely blown away. I had no idea he had the tech skills to do what he did - without my help at that.
Then we started brainstorming for our parent visit. They were so thoughtful of their parents and really wanted to make coming to the classroom an 'experience' for them. They carefully planned games, chose songs to dance to and decided how to set up the room. They created a welcome banner and also organised a presentation to explain the events of the afternoon.
I again would have liked more time to see where the students could have pushed themselves farther but sometimes you don't have those extra few minutes. While they executed their plan well, I would've liked to give them more time to practice before their parents came.
Sometimes holding on to what you think you (and your students) need is what you don't need. Be willing to take a risk with your students and see where they lead you. Because chances are, what they'll do on their own, will be far more than you expected of them.
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