Making StopMotion Movies, part 4

This is my final reflection on the movie project that I did with my students recently, using stop-motion moviemaking to demonstrate a literary idea. Part one dealt with student reactions to the endeavor; Part two was how I implemented the project; and Part three was how I published the videos.

This is about how I am going about grading these 31 movies. I think it should be stated outfront that assessing digital projects can be difficult, as technical difficulties can sometimes get in the way of executing even the most perfect idea. So, I do try to keep an open mind, even though I lay out parameters of expectations to my students from the very start. I remind them that this is all fun and exciting, but it is also a learning experience and they need to show what they have learned.

Before we even began, I went over my expectations with them:

  • Their movie would demonstrate a literary term that I would provide them (worth 50 points);
  • They would storyboard their idea out and conference me about their concept (20 points);
  • Their title would center on the literary term and a written definition of the term (or a very clear narration) would be required (20 points);
  • Effort and imagination and patience would be rewarded (10 points).

This weekend, as I looked the movies over more critically than I have before, I realize that some groups just got caught up in the movie aspect, and gave only a head-nod to the actual assignment. Others found a story with a focus and told it through a movie as best as they could. Still others … well, they just created odd movies.

I know almost every student loved this project and now understands something more intangible: how to manage a complicated project with many layers of composition, work with others in a cooperative venture, and publish a movie to the world. I didn’t grade these aspects, but they are as important as the area that I give points for, in my opinion. In the ideal world, the grade would not be required.

So, the average grade hovers around a solid “B” range for the classes, but the memories of making a movie will last long after the report cards go out and get lost in the dust bin of history.

Peace (in experiences),

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