Sunday, 3 March 2019

Lucky's Book Chat

Over the summer holidays, I had a good think about our Library Llamas Youtube channel.  This is something I set up last year, with the aim of connecting our students with books by taking advantage of a format they enjoy i.e. videos.

I decided to film a new segment for the channel called "Lucky's Book Chat".  I developed this for a number of reasons:

  • I wanted a way to share my own book knowledge.  Not surprisingly, I read quite a lot, and I wanted a way to recommend books to students myself.  Having an adult share books is not as exciting as a Llama though, so, spoiler alert, I became "Lucky the Llama".
  • I wanted to improve the regularity with which we upload videos to the channel.  In terms of establishing a bigger audience, from what I've read it's important to start uploading on a regular basis, preferably at least once a week.  By having a segment that I produce, I can increase the number of videos we upload (although even one video a week can be difficult when I have other work/family commitments).
  • I wanted to broaden the range of students who contribute to the channel.  By not having students commit to being in a Library Llamas Book Club, and instead have them agree to make one video with me, I hope to be able to entice a larger number of students to participate in the channel.

    The Format

    In order to make it easier to be able to regularly produce the segment, I decided to create a general format for the video, which gets tweaked from week to week.  At the start of the video, I have the students tell Lucky a joke.  They pick the joke, the only criteria being that they'd have to be comfortable telling it to Mrs Fraser (our acting principal).  Then both Lucky and the student talk about a great book that they have read.  I try to have some kind of prop that leads into the discussion about the book that Lucky has read.

    After the book discussion, Lucky says that they have to go and do something a bit unusual - parachuting, skiing etc.  Then, while the student is doing a voice-over asking for subscribers and comments, there is a green screen, stop motion or other creative scene with the student interacting with their book in some way.  This part is something I really enjoy, but it's stretching my film and editing skills!  I'm learning a lot from YouTube tutorials :)

    What I've Learned so Far

    • To keep the chat conversational, I don't have the students learn a script.  I ask them to think about a joke, and what they want to say about their book, and what they might want to do creatively at the end.  What I have found is that I need to go over with them a bit more about what they've decided to say about their book.  At the moment they also need help with the creative side, although once I tell them a general idea then they build on that really well.  As they watch more of the Lucky's Book Chat videos, and see more of what can be done, I imagine they will have more ideas of their own.
    • I have a half hour slot in which I film, and that means things need to move quite quickly.  I do this during class time, and not at morning tea like we did last year, as it means there is much less background noise.  Having a different child each week means that the teachers have been happy for me to take them out of class for this, as it is a one-off.
    • I do the filming myself, which means I turn the camera on and then go and hide behind the chair.  The problem with this is that I can't see what the students are doing, and I am always scared that I'm not hidden properly behind the chair!  It has been working fairly well though.

    If you like this video then please like and subscribe!  Even better, leave a comment if you like the books we discuss.