Elementary Students Produce Video

MES 5th Grade Enrichment Produce Parody
Posted on 05/26/2022
This is the image for the news article titled MES 5th Grade Enrichment Produce ParodyAfter Jessica Fortner’s fifth grade enrichment class at Martin Elementary School discovered the meaning of parody, they soon were calling for “Lights. Camera. Action” as video producers. Their final product “MES Gone Wrong” – a brief look at what NOT to do as third, fourth, and fifth graders – was shown to each class in the last week of school. Teachers were able to then debrief with their students about appropriate behaviors for the coming year.

To make their “story in a funnier version” – their definition of parody – the 13 students learned several lessons. Working in small groups on how to illustrate the breaking of rules that should not be broken, they then joined efforts to make the final product.

They gained knowledge of how to operate IMovie, work with green screens, character generate words on a frame, and editing. They also found out that movies – even 5 minutes and 48 seconds versions like theirs – require a lot of patience.

While the film begins with the disclaimer that “no children were hurt (too badly) in the making of this video,” Eleanor Shelton did acknowledge that after she bruised her knee doing the worm in the restroom scene that shows the negative effects of playing in the bathroom, she relied on the comfort of the paper towels – something that had a starring role in more broken rules later in the piece – to provide cushioning for all the retakes.

During the interview, Adriana Alvarez added her own disclaimer that Shelton both came up with the idea of featuring the worm performance and volunteered to do her own stunts.

Other topics covered in the short piece were sleeping in class even during the “most boring ELA unit ever;” talking, drawing, putting feet on desk, making paper airplanes and other acts of disrespect during class time; food fights in the cafeteria, acts of vandalism; pulling the fire alarm; and sleeping in class.

Dillon Bates admits that he doesn’t have the patience required for a career in film. Waiting to set up camera shots like the one where he was hit in the head during a food fight with fake food nor the behind the scenes work like the editing that Tobey Jones (with a little help from dad) made into a comic bit of repeated hits complete with sound effects were more than his confessed impatience would allow.

The students reported that any filming that required messes to be made meant making cleanup a priority. Brayden Frye, for instance, said he even found pieces of play food used during the food fight had somehow made their way to his lunchbox.

The project began in September. The film was completed in February. But, due to not wanting to encourage students to duplicate the rule breaking, the debut was held until the last week of school. Between concluding the video and presenting it to younger classmates, the students learned how to create video games using an app to transform their own illustrations into contests of skill.

Fortner said that the enrichment experience resulted in several takeaways for the students such as realizing they could create something of substance and together.

“At first they were excited but scared,” she said. “They also didn’t realize how hard it was. It took a lot longer than they anticipated but they worked together through the whole thing.”

As for possible futures in the film world, Logan Tucker, who has already won a speech contest and enjoys writing, along with Adriana Alvarez, a recent winner in a writing contest, appear to be strong candidates. Molly Dodson says she could see herself doing something like film “as a side job.” Rosalie Alvarez and Eleanor Shelton both liked acting and said they might do more. Shelton has already made more short films on her own. Jones thinks she could continue editing. Madison Davis already edits (for a small fee) the YouTube videos her twin McKenzie films.

While Chloe Harcourt said the enrichment class became the “highlight of my day” she does not foresee a career in the field. Brinlee Manns agrees but says it has the potential of being a hobby.

Kashyup Chauhan is ready to sign up for more as long as it’s more of the same, “I liked acting because all I had to do was go to sleep,” he confessed.

Students standing in hallway
Jessica Fortner’s previous enrichment classes have recreated a book’s tea party to recount the historical happenings and turned students into detectives. This year fifth graders were introduced to parody and produced a video of what not to do at Martin Elementary School. Forming the production crew and cast were (left to right) Tobey Jones, Dillon Bates, Madison Davis, Eleanor Shelton, Brinlee Manns, Rosalie Alvarez, Logan Tucker, Brayden Frye, McKenzie Davis, Kashyup Chauhan, Molly Dodson, Adriana Alvarez, and Chloe Harcourt.