In The Kid History Project, ninth grade students researched, wrote, and filmed the story of an important, but overlooked event from history.
There was just one catch: their narrator was an elementary student, telling the story from memory, and all their performances had to match the story as it was told.
The Kid History Project has taught me how to relax and be a colleague with my students. I am a very organized teacher, but sometimes I can micromanage which takes me out of the creative nature of projects. This experience has helped me get “messy” with my students and troubleshoot problems on the spot. This experience has also taught me that transformation of space and using professional jargon sets the atmosphere which helped my students become fully immersed as writers, directors, editors and actors. This is the fourth year I have done this project and each year it gets better and better, so it is difficult to pinpoint specific changes I have made from past iterations. My biggest piece of advice to all PBL educators is do a project multiple times with different classes and be patient with the way it naturally develops. We never do something perfect the first go around, so be patient and give your projects the space and time to grow and evolve.
My favorite moment during the Kid History Project was creating the end credit scenes. I wanted to create an ending scene that was just as enjoyable and memorable as the episode itself. The idea for the ending came to me by memory. Suddenly, my mind was like an old moving picture. It showed me flashbacks of old sitcoms, Disney movies, and teenage dramas. During class I scrambled from table to table, person to person, trying to gather as much footage as I could. At home, my legs became a body of their own and carried me to my desk in front of my computer. I immediately started to compile the videos and pictures that I had taken. I used funny gimmicks, bloopers, nostalgic music, and visual/font effects to create an ending that was just as humorous as the tale our video told of the Y2K Crash.