Intergenerational Studies at The Prosper Valley School

The Prosper Valley School 2nd grade in Pomfret conducted a month-long unit utilizing an ethnographic approach to study intergenerational learning. Combing forces with Media Instructor, Mike Leonard, the 2nd grade students learned useful interviewing and documentary film techniques and then matched those with film editing skills.

Watch a video of 2nd grade teacher, Barb Leonard, explain the whole process:

The following are two lesson plans that were used to teach the students ethnographic techniques. These are useful for the lower-elementary level and can be adapted to fit the needs of many different types of community-based projects:

The Prosper Valley School – Intergenerational Ethnography – 2nd Grade

Lesson #1 - Generating Content for Film Editing*

Objective: To learn why we need media and how to generate it for documentary film editing

1)    Introduction: What is our subject?

a.     Ask students to describe what they did (met and interviewed an intergenerational ‘special friend’).

b.     Why is it important to share this experience with others?

c.     What are some ways we know how to share information? (ex. Talking, writing, film)

d.     Why is film a good tool for telling a story? (provides both audio and video, technology is available to most people)


2)    Documentary as a tool: Show an edited video sample as a goal

a.     Define what a documentary is – “movie that tells a true story”

b.     What are the things we need to put together the documentary?

                                               i.     Define – media, clip, audio, video

c.     How do we get these things? (filming, photography, writing, etc.)

d.     How do we get good media?

                                               i.     What does good media look like? What does bad media look like?

                                             ii.     Preparation


3)    Using an iPad to film: discussion of filming techniques in order to get good footage for the final product

a.     How do we conduct interviews? – prepare your interviewee in advance, frame the shot, don’t ask yes/no questions, repetition is okay

b.     How do we behave when we’re being filmed? – speak slowly, loudly, clearly, look at camera or interviewer, smile – if appropriate

c.     Define: Wide, medium, close shots, camera movements, lighting, sound, tripod, angles, background


4)    Film interviews of students – two students at a time to work with Mike on filming. Other students can be practicing for filming or selecting their photos to be used for next week’s editing lesson

a.     Teach students how to use iPads to film – stop/start record button

b.    Teach students to use tripod/microphone

c.     Teach students how to save and access files for later use


*Advanced preparation required:

- Have students discuss the interviews they conducted with their special friends

- Have students select a couple of the most interesting things that they learned from their special friend



The Prosper Valley School – Intergenerational Ethnography – 2nd Grade

Lesson #2 - Generating Content for Film Editing

Objective: To learn how to edit media in iMovie to make a documentary film clip


1)    Introduction

a.     Recap and review of materials – discuss film clips; review any important language

b.    Discussion – discuss an overview of film editing software and techniques (iMovie, WeVideo, FinalCut, Premiere, etc.); why do we use these programs?

2)    Importing content –

a.     How to import film, photo, audio/video into iMovie (drag-and-drop; import button)

b.    What material and how much should we import? What are some techniques to organize content?

3)    Timeline and review panels

a.     What is the timeline? What is the browser? What is the preview window?

b.    How do we get clips into the timeline to begin editing? Audio and video?

c.     How do we rearrange clips in the timeline?

4)    Cutting clips and adding different types of media

a.     How to cut clips in preview window? How to cut clips directly in timeline?

b.    How to add still images over the video clips?

c.     How to add sound clips below video clips in timeline?

5)    Adding transitions

a.     Why are transitions used?

b.    What makes a good transition? What makes a distracting transition?

c.     How to add transitions in the timeline?