Mr. Murphy and I are thrilled to share the work of Mrs. Lisano’s third grade social studies students and their reenactments of the Revolutionary War. In previous years, Mrs. Lisano taught the Revolutionary War unit in a traditional manner with a written test as the final assessment. However this year, Mrs. Lisano wanted to continue integrating technology into her curriculum and approached Mr. Murphy and I with a new and innovative way to teach the content of this unit. Her idea was to have her students work as a team to reenact the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere’s Ride, and the Battle of Concord and Lexington. The technology used throughout this project included Google Docs and Drive, Google Classroom, iMovie, Explain Everything, and Green Screen by DoInk. Creative Commons licensed music from the excellent website incompetech.com was also used as the documentary’s soundtrack. I highly recommend using Google Classroom if you plan to do a project similar to Mrs. Lisano’s. I created four Classrooms in seconds and it helped keep the documents and images for each reenactment organized. It is by far the quickest and easiest way to distribute and collect materials digitally.
“Teamwork Makes the Dream Work!”
Collaboration on this project began on April 27th with a detailed, thirteen page planning document. The document outlined the roles, responsibilities, and guidelines of each group; the writers/directors, the actors, and the production team. Writers and directors were responsible for writing the narration at the start of each movie which summarized the event. They were also responsible for writing the script for the actors and directing them on how to speak their parts and where to stand while “on set.” The actors were responsible for memorizing their lines and bringing authenticity to each movie by getting into character and taking their roles seriously. The production team was responsible for recording the opening audio, gather the images that were used with the green screen, selecting the music, filming various shots “on location” and in front of the green screen, and creating the opening and closing credits. All of the students were responsible for gathering costumes for both the colonists and the British as well as bringing in props from home or making them from scratch (check out their homemade lanterns in Paul Revere’s Ride and the crates of tea in the Boston Tea Party!). Teamwork was an essential element of this project, as was students’ ability to listen, communicate, manage their time, stay organized, give and receive constructive feedback, evaluate their work and redo when necessary, and think creatively. Clearly, this project is a perfect example of 21st century student-centered teaching and learning.
Exemplary Times Four!
Looking back at our original goals and vision, the four final videos exceeded our expectations. This project not only helped students learn about specific events from the Revolutionary War, it helped them learn how to work effectively with their peers and adults, set and achieve goals, and produce digital content that is shared with a global audience via YouTube. These documentaries are excellent examples of real-world digital citizenship and showcase student voice in an original and creative way.
It was an absolute pleasure to collaborate with Mrs. Lisano and her energetic students, and Mr. Murphy and I look forward to working on this project with next year’s third graders. They now have four exemplars to model their work after, and we know that students will continue to produce high quality digital projects worthy of sharing with the word! I’d like to personally thank Mrs. Lisano for her willingness to always take risks with new instructional strategies and I am 100% confident that she provided her students with a learning experience that they will literally never forget. I know Mr. Murphy and I certainly won’t!
Below are the four reenactments of the Revolutionary War project for your viewing pleasure. We encourage you to share these with your own students, whether they are elementary, middle, or high school and we hope they spark creative ideas to integrate into your social studies curriculum for the 2017-2018 school year! We look forward to having third grade parents attend a formal viewing party of these documentaries on Wednesday!
The Boston Massacre
The Boston Tea Party
Paul Revere’s Ride
The Battle of Lexington and Concord