Let me share a school open house idea that I have used for the past ten years that captivates the visitors and makes the evening enjoyable and stress-free for the teacher. The idea is called “The Historical Hero Video Project.”
What You Need:
- a phone, digital camera, or camcorder that takes short videos
- software that creates slides/movies (iMovie, iPhoto, Movie Maker, etc.)
First, my students do a biography poster project. They select a historical hero and do research on the Internet. They print a photo, create a timeline, and write why this person is a hero to them under the headline “My Hero.” This is mounted on colorful poster board.
What You Do:
- Then, students research a quotation by their hero and memorize it for later videotaping. I direct students to sites such as www.brainyquote.com. If they are unable to locate a quotation, I have students complete the sentence: I admire _________ because _________ .
- On videotaping day, I hang up butcher paper for a plain background and call students up individually to recite their quotation while the others complete independent reading or seat work. It truly goes quickly, especially if you have a rehearsal the day before. My students hold their posters while being filmed.
- Next, I upload the video clips on the computer. (Filming tips: a digital camera is easiest. Simply turn the camera on and off for each student to create separate clips. For camcorders: record the floor for a few seconds after each child is filmed! This creates separation between clips for easier editing.)
Create Your Open House Movie:
- Your film can be as simple as sliding the clips into a slideshow or as elaborate as creating a movie with music, an introduction, and titles. I always use iMovie, but Windows’ Movie Maker would work well, too!
- Music such as “Abraham, Martin and John” by Dion and “Hero” by Mariah Carey have added a wonderful touch to my movies.
- Have the students create invitations or posters for the “Open House Movie Premiere.”
- Have students dress as their historical hero for the open house.
- Give students a DVD copy at the end of the school year and/or post it on the classroom website.
- Adapt this idea for grade-level curricular topics and areas of study such as characters from literature or famous scientists.
So, roll out the red carpet and create an open house event that parents and students will remember!
Alice Evans is a forty-year veteran National Board Certified elementary classroom teacher and is a published author. She recently retired from the San Diego Unified School District.