Nature of Learning Project 2012: Colter School’s iMovies

Sometimes in this fast paced world, it’s easy to overlook the small things in life. What with local protests, global warming, corporate corruption and political drama, our society becomes inevitably intertwined with negative attitudes and depressing outlooks for the future, and it apparently remains no different with our youth. In this case, the “small things” are represented by the youth of our society, who we sometimes assume to be naïve and innocent, but are actually amazingly in tune with the on goings of a bleak global standpoint.

These kids, however, also possess a positive, creative and optimistic view into the future, yearning for change and aware of the pressure humans are placing on our planet. This past week, photographer Taylor Glenn and a few associates from the JHWFF, including myself, have been “in the field” with the Colter Schools’ fifth graders for the 2012 Nature of Learning Project, using photography, poetry and various media outlets to create short “iMovies”. In the process, we have gotten to know these unique, intelligent kids and learn all about their inspirations for poem topics ranging from corruption to flowers to annoying dogs waking them up to over-development.

Using simple Kodak cameras, groups of us have taken to the bike path around Smiths and used the surrounding scenery as a backdrop for the video portion of the iMovie. Although scenic, the bike path posed some challenges for kids whose topics touched more on actual animals or more abstract ideas like space and time. This “restriction”, however, forced the kids to be creative and think outside the box, and the results were just that. Kids have the most imaginative takes on things and it’s fascinating to see their execution of each poem, focusing their lens into the sky or towards the garbage littering the parking lot around Smith’s or the way the fog lingers over the buttes.

After our walk-a-bouts, we took to the computers and headsets to record the poems on GarageBand, a program I am vaguely familiar with. One of the best parts about working with kids is seeing their tremendous knowledge of all things technology. I knew that they would know what to do when it came to computers, growing up in the iPod/iPhone generation and all, but I didn’t realize that they would be schooling me on how to use the programs as well. Using iMovie to create the final products, the kids uploaded their pictures and sound recordings, adding music and organizing the photos to coincide with the verses of their poetry.

Walking around the classroom, listening and watching various short films, I was lucky to see the completed product of the past weeks’ visits. It was exciting to see the way the students had zoned in on their particular vision and created mini movies that convey real ideas; some of my favorites focused on the over development while others took on lighter topics such as creep crawly creatures. Leaving the school after the last day of the project, I thought about the time I had spent with the various classes and reminisced about how much fun I had.

Just watching and assisting the creation process of the mini-movies was rewarding and different, an experience that I didn’t realize would allow me such a unique perspective on creativity. All in all, the moral of the story here is : although surprisingly in tune with the ongoings of day-to-day life in this world, these fifth graders still know how to have fun.

Of all the unique and creative entries, we have chosen one winner, Lucy, whose poem embodies the nature of the contest, vividly capturing image and sound and combining those to create a meaningful, interesting film. Congratulations to Lucy for her work ” The World as We Know It”! Click below to view her work:

2012 JHWFF’s Nature of Learning Winning Poem: Lucy

Photos: Taylor Glenn


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