Using ChatterPix Kids to Teach Perspective

ChatterPix Okapi

I should probably confess right now that this lesson was pretty much a bust.

“Then, why are you sharing it?” you say.

Well, like most of my lessons, it was not a complete bust.  There were some “boom” aspects to it.  Plus, I think I now know most of the factors that contributed to the bust, and I want to record them for posterity for the next time I try this idea.

“Oh, I thought you were going to say that you wanted to help your readers avoid all of your mistakes!” you say.

Okay.  That, too.

I have been discussing “Multiple Perspectives” with my 11 GT first graders.  A couple of months ago, word of the ChatterPix Kids app arrived in the Twittersphere, and I thought that this might be the time to have the students try using it.  (I used it, myself, in December to make some Augmented Reality cards.)

So, here is the saga.  The starred portions are where, in retrospect, I’m pretty sure I contributed to the ultimate doom of the project.

To set the scene, I read Who is Melvin Bubble? by Nick Bruel to the class.  This was probably one of the “boomier” parts of my lesson.  In the book, different characters talk about a boy named Melvin Bubble, giving their opinion of him.  The perspectives range from Santa’s point of view that he’s “always on my nice list” to the Tooth Fairy’s opinion that “he has a big head!” I used different voices, and the kids were practically rolling on the floor.

After discussing the book, I asked the kids to divide sheets of paper into fourths.  On each fourth they drew: a self-portrait, a holiday character, a book character, and their favorite animal. I told them to make the pictures big – especially the faces.

Why is it that students never want to use up space with drawings?  They have a whole 1/4 of a paper, and they still draw faces the size of a flea.*

Why did I have them do four pictures? I should have had them do two.  Or one.*

I showed them how to use the ChatterPix app.  So many things went wrong right here.  My Reflector wasn’t working, so I had to show the iPad under the document camera.*  I did not emphasize the importance of zooming in on each pic individually.**  I did not show them how to focus the camera by tapping on the screen.***  I apparently did not emphasize the importance of drawing the mouth on the actual mouth of the picture (resulting in talking chins and cheeks).  ****

Of course, I didn’t realize any of this at the time, so I be-bopped happily around taking pictures as the kids chattered away.*

Later, when I watched and listened to the videos, I realized that I also did not make my point clear about the purpose of the activity.  They were supposed to have each character talk in the first person about them (as in the video embedded below).  Instead, the students talked in the first person about their characters.*  Argghhhh!!

Next class, I gamely tried to rectify all of the above issues.  Thankfully, the new perspective on perspective made a difference.  Horrifyingly, however, one of my examples became an oft-repeated favorite. “And, remember the Tooth Fairy in Melvin Bubble?  Not all of your characters have to say how much they like you.”*

Ergo, 50% of the videos commenced to speak about how much they disliked the student who drew them.*

Oh, and did I mention that my plan was to add every video to Aurasma Studio so the students could take their papers home and the parents could scan them to see the cute videos?*

Oh, and did I mention that I told the kids this was the plan, and told the parents (on our class blog)?******************

Lessons Learned:  do only one or two videos, don’t suggest that your students make disparaging videos about themselves, teach kids that talking mouths look kind of creepy on top of noses and even creepier on pin-sized heads, and never, NEVER reveal your future plans.

On the plus side, the ChatterPix app had them completely engaged for 2 class periods :)

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