Friday, December 26, 2008

99 Things Meme

I saw this on Doug Johnson's Blue Skunk Blog, along with is very intriguing adaptation of it. Here's my stab at the original meme...


Things you’ve already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
(Can't unbold this for some reason. I haven't done it but I've slept in a family stilt hut in northern Thailand, with the pigs and chickens walking around below us.)
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland/world.

8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis. (andwatched my cat play with them in the condo in KL)
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped. (But I've helped kids on a rope course for hours.)
12. Visited Paris. (But I've been to Kathmandu.)

13. Watched a lightening storm at sea. (How about from an airplane? I've done that often.)

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. (How about knitting and swimming? I retaught myself both.)

15. Adopted a child. (Adopted an abandoned animal.)
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty. (Walked to the top of Batu Caves and up to Namché Bazaar in the Himalayas.)

18. Grown your own vegetables. (Supported organic farmers, grown plants with kids cared for U of MN corn fields.)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France. (Seen prehistoric cave drawings in Thailand.)
20. Slept on an overnight train. - from Cairo to Luxor in Egypt.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb. (I've held a piglet, and they are not easy to hold! And I've bottle fed a calf.)
26. Gone skinny dipping.

27. Run a marathon. Nope, but I've biked across the state three times.
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice. Nope, but I've ridden an elephant in Thailand.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.

31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37.Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person. I've seen the pyramids in Egypt.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person.
41. Sung Karaoke. (unfortunately)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
Bought a homeless person a meal.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.

46. Been transported in an ambulance. (I don't think so, but my Red Cross certification is up to date.)
47. Had your portrait painted. (No, but my sister has taken great portrait photos of me.)
48. Gone deep sea fishing. (Nope, but I've snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef.)
49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.

55. Been in a movie. (I've directed a few plays.)

56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen. (I've delivered Meals on Wheels.)
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp. (Visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.)
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter. - Through the Himalayas no less!
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt. (Nope, but I can knit a sock!)
73. Stood in Times Square. (I've stood in Tienanmen Square.)
74. Toured the Everglades. (I've ridden on the Mekong.)
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.

81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem. (I've walked and talked with landmine victims in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I've chatted with young Buddhist monks in Luang Prabang, Laos.)
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible. (I've read most of it. The book of numbers nearly killed me.)
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
(I did have to cut the head and feet off the last chicken I purchased in the grocery store.)
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake.

97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.

How about you? Consider yourself tagged.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Movie Trailers for Books

One of the projects I enjoyed the most this term was the book talk videos created by one of our fifth grade classes.

The unit began in the classroom. The teacher showed the class a number of movie trailers and challenged the students to figure out what strategies and movie devices were used to capture their attention, hold their interest, and make the viewer want to see the film.

Next she had her students select one of the books they have read so far this year and she sent them to me. I introduced Flickr and the idea of Creative Commons license as opposed to regular copyright. This discussion also introduced the concept of tags and reviewed the correct actions to take if their search should pull up inappropriate images.

From there, they went into Sharepoint to open a copy of our photo sources form. The directions on this form are more than a child is likely to read, but we knew some children would be working at home and wanted to give enough information that parents could successfully support their children on this step of the project.


Most of the students seemed to really enjoy using FlickrCC to find their photos. Finding photos to fit their story or the mood they were trying to create was a good challenge.

As you could predict, many students forgot to complete step 8. Fortunately, most of them did remember to paste the photo name and URL onto the photo sources form, so it was easy to locate the photo again and save it to their computer.

When they had all the photos they needed, students went into Windows Movie Maker to create their movie trailer. This program is easy to learn and offered enough control for most of the projects. We were fortunate that many of the students in this class had become adept at using it last year when their fourth grade teacher had her class create movies of a poem they had written. These students were our experts as we began this fifth grade project.

I don't necessarily agree with the claims that most of my students are digital natives, but I do think they are media natives. They have a great deal more experience than I have with watching videos. They clearly drew on that experience to craft their movies. For example, one student selected a theme song for each of the main characters and she'd play the appropriate theme each time that character was in the trailer. Another student showed a succession of photos, each photo visible for less time than the previous one, to build tension.

As is common with upper elementary students, most focused on some aspects of story telling and cinematography while ignoring others, but I think these first attempts at creating book trailers are very well done.

We have them posted on our school website. We have dropped them into our web photo gallery which was easy and made them accessible to our families, but it doesn't allow you to see the title of the book. We had thought of putting the videos into YouTube but the class didn't feel ready for that step. You are welcome to view the videos here (until they are taken down when the web server begins to fill).

There is no way to leave comments in the web gallery, but if you leave comments here on this blog post, I'll forward the positive/constructive comments to the children.