Link-Final Project-Wednesday

owl street crossing

Yay, my mentoring teacher loved it!  Here’s what he replied: 

 “It’s got a ton of information that directly connects to our curriculum, so you’re spot on in that area. 

As far as the pixilation, there isn’t much you can do—that happens because VT shrinks the file when you upload it.  At the same time, I don’t think that causes any real problems for the kids.  They’re going to be engaged by the owls for sure. 

As far as the length goes, I think the kids might not listen totally carefully through the entire clip, but I think if you use the comment section to highlight some important points from the audio clips, you’ll be fine. 

Remember that as you develop your comments that the best VTs are centered around great questions.  The kids will be motivated by issues of fairness and unfairness—so if you can weave those kinds of questions into your conversation, you’ll get more engagement.  They’ve also been wrestling with whether humans have a responsibility to protect the environment—-even if it interferes with our lives.”

With these suggestions in mind, I reworked my guiding questions.  Tuesday morning I recorded them.  Who knew it would take me 40 minutes to say the word “another.”  My goodness! 

I sent the VoiceThread link off to Bill’s school account, and off to Janet Ng, the Director of SBOIC, so that the kids and the three of us can comment as soon as the students start engaging with the VT.  cori at computer

As well, I’ve included the link, (VT difficulties as of Thrusday a.m. please check new post) and hope others will jump in and offer engaging dialogue to our discussion on habitat and owls (especially all you Moose Jaw folk), once the kids have had a chance to chat a bit.  There are big issues here and I’m excited to open a few doors with the kids, get some discussion going.

The kids will start engaging with the VT on Thursday and, like Bill, I too am looking “forward to seeing where this goes.”


Final Project – Sunday Night

owl ed book

What a busy day!  I started this morning trying to uploading my video into Movie Maker.  However, after following Dean’s suggestions, the program would still not recognize the files from my handy-dandy new Flip camera.  I once again emailed Dean, and as a back-up, I emailed Bill Ferriter, my mentoring teacher, in North Carolina. 

Last week during an in-class ECMP355 project on movie making, my class and I used Flip cameras, and Bill has also suggested I purchase one as an awesome teaching tool for my future classroom…  My point:  these little cameras must work! 

Dean replied, “Another option is to use to upload the original videos and convert them to .wmv”.  Oh, high praise for Zamzar!  What I really like about this site is that I am simply offered my steps: 1, 2 and 3.  The site is very simple.  What does Barry Schwartz say?  More is not better, more is simply debilitating.  I began the conversion process.

Shortly afterward, Bill replied, “Ahhh, the ol’ MP4 challenge!  I’ve been there too!  The new Flip cameras record in MP4, but Movie Maker doesn’t allow you to edit MP4s.  What a hassle.  A few solutions: 1.  You can use Format Factory—a free program—-to convert your video from MP4 to WMV, a file type that Movie Maker will let you play with.  2.  You can do your video editing on-line using a program like Jaycut:  3.  You can skip editing completely and just upload your files to Blip TV, which allows viewers to engage in a conversation in the comment section:” 

What I have really appreciated about Bill’s support throughout my mentoring process is that his comments always feel like he has been through all of these situations before.  He wrote in his blog when he and I were getting set to Skype a few weeks ago, that he too had been challenged with bureaucratic red tape and he had been forced to ask for assistance, and yet did not give up.  I like that he has real grade 6 teacher challenges and understands the wind resistance that affects my current learning curve.  His empathy and kindness are comforting.

I had figured out that my Flip was giving me mp4 files so I only took a quick look at FormatFactory, and it was so visually busy, and I was well into the conversion process with ZamZar by that time that I did not play around with this tool.   I was beginning not to love my Flip.  This camera though, is incredibly easy to use in the field (though close ups and fast actions shots are ncomputer with VTot recommended).

A lot of my video pixulated with the conversion.  This made me sad.  The pan shot of the in-field is really lovely without the pixulation.  But, oh well.  There was also a bit of the same effect when the video uploaded into VoiceThread.  I saved the VT and sent a link to Bill for his thoughts. 

Then I showed it to my daughter who gave this feedback: “There are too many words.”

Then I went to bed, tossing and turning, anxious for Bill’s feedback.

Final Project, Sunday Morning


DSC00934Yesterday, I filmed, gathered audio, and took pictures from all over Moose Jaw.  My favourite location was the SBOIC, and my favourite guest was Saunder.  I am making this project, What is Habitat? Owls and Urbanization, as a teaching support for Bill Ferriter’s grade 6 science classes.  So when I awoke to rain yesterday, I had to make it work.  I frooze one digital camera, learned a plastic baggie trick for my new Flip camera, and backed up my audio every step of the way.  My sister came along, drank Tim’s, offered much needed advice, and once into production, these words of sister support, “You need to know your keyboard short cuts you freak!”

I took a lot of stills, a lot of video, because, apparently, “we are picture happy.”  Last night I successfully upgraded my VoiceThread account to an educator account, I tried out the tool JayCut, but when I realised that it took about 40 years to upload one image, I quit this tool and went back to Movie Maker

My audio was terrible, both on the mp3 and the video… then I booted up my daughter’s laptop and tried listening to my audio there… Cori‘s speakers are toast, fun at 11:00 p.m.

Then, I tried to upload my video from my Flip camera into Movie Maker.  I kept getting an error message.  I tried many different ways to make this work.  I emailed Dean, and he shot back a reply at midnight. 

So, this is where I am today.  41 items of video to upload into Movie Maker, cross your fingers (I was up all night figuring how to make this work without that footage). 

Oh, and I’m still chilled from the rain.. so if you’re in the Jaw today, stop by, French Vanilla, extra large, but I’m not complaining ’cause during the shooting, I got to hold a dead mouse!


I was reading Lyndsay‘s post “Exemplary Video” that discuses the use of camera angles and langueage in a short YouTube film, made by the Dove Cooperation.  At the end of her post, Lyndsay links to another video by Dove, addressing inner beauty. I followed her hyperlink, and thought, “Ah, yes, what good messages this company is advocating. Beauty comes from within, and we must teach our ‘girls’ this message.”

Ok, so after I sat back and pondered and then I noticed a YouTube link to a video that looked very similar.  The film started with the same shot, a young girl in the center of the screen.  Only in this other film the young girl does not have white skin or blue eyes…  I clicked, I watched, I listened.


Lyndsey states her intent to use the Dove films in her health class to teach identity.  Indeed, Dove films are valuable teaching tools.  During my Middle-Years Teacher Education Degree, with it’s focus on social justice, Dove films have surfaced often as positive examples of ways to promote positive self-concept.  However, the films are, as well, one means with which I will teach my students the skill of Questioning the Author

I can not teach my students to become socially responsive learners if they are not critical of what they read, listen to, or watch.  Engaged citizenship demands that my teaching be rich in critique.  My middle-years learners will benefit from learning that beauty comes from within, but they will own this message when they discover that though there are people who try to sell outer beauty, there too are those who commodity inner beauty.  The real lesson here is having students take responsibility for the beauty they offer humanity.  It is because students lack a global perceptive not necessarily a global ownership, it is “No wonder our perceptive of beauty is distorted.”

Below is the Dove film, Beauty Pressure.  Next is the GREENPEACE film, Onslaught(er), that spurred this post…

My Final Project: What is Habitat?

2008 fall internship, halloween and Zoe 079Here’s my most pressing issue: my mp3 player records well, however, I’m not certain how to get the audio to overlap the photos (or videos) when I make a Voicethread.  The project storyboard is planned so that some of my ‘threads’ will be “experts” chatting while images scroll by.  Recording of these two components can not happen concurrently (ex: the biologist speaking and footage of the infield).  With each ‘thread’ I will provide a guiding question or thought for the students. 

 Is this possible to do all of this in Voicethread and HOW?  Is this possible for CORI to do all of this in Voicethread and for ‘you’ to talk me through? 

(Yes, this is posting in a tiny font.  I have no idea why)

The Beauty of Belle

The Establishing Shot – Disney’s Beauty and the Beast  

An establishing shot at the beginning of a film is a narrative tool to inform viewers of the general mood of the story, its central character(s) and the overall location. It helps the viewer find their cinematic ‘footing’ without confusion as the story unfolds.  

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast presents an important establishing shot for two reasons. First, it has a strong opening sequence, cleverly constructed to lay out all the important elements of the story. Second, it was the first time an animated feature film paid so much attention to the narrative traditions of non-animated filmmaking.  

The opening sequence of Beauty and the Beast begins with a brief but ominous back-story, the dark undertones only the viewer will know as the story switches to the beautiful fair maiden, innocently singing of her woes. The viewer forgets, if only for a moment, the dark prophesy of the first three minutes and is swept away in the establishing shot that follows.  

Belle walks right out of her sweet little cottage, starts singing and the viewer knows immediately they signed up for a fairytale musical. The camera follows Belle, the young woman, as she wanders through her village. The viewer learns she lives just outside of town. The town has much activity and the shopkeepers and residents are all abuzz in the morning routine. Through Belle’s singing, the viewer learns that this morning routine, this daily repetition, is something Belle longs to leave behind. She wants more. Now the viewer starts to get a sense of the story and where it is headed. The viewer remembers the dark back-story presented before they met Belle. The viewer senses that a beast hidden in an enchanted castle and a clever young girl looking for adventure are destined to meet. That’s all the viewer needs to know. The roller coaster is almost at the top of the rail. Hold on, the film ride is about to begin.  

Equally important in the establishing shot of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is the recognition of real-life filmmaking practices. On real-life film sets there is a complex team of prop artists, choreographers, lighting designers, sound technicians and third assistant directors operating in perfect sync. The legacy of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is that this animated feature, created entirely in a computer, looks as though it has that support of a full non-animated crew behind it. It is the first time an animated feature film was created as though it were a non-animated feature. The impressive attention to detail, the song and dance numbers, the rich backgrounds, the dynamic camera movements compete with tracking shots, bring to mind any large budget non-animated feature film of the past 50 years. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast sets the bar high for other animated features to follow. Gone are the days of a very flat-looking Mickey whistling on steamboat.