Maria Kaetri, an Estonian language teacher at Tallinn Mustjõe Gymnasium, offered children to film Estonian fairy tales as a distance learning task. The choice was “Laughing” and “Cake”. Special emphasis was placed on the child working on pronunciation. In this article, I will share my experiences with how this was done. I hope that this will be useful for parents whose children mostly learn Estonian at school. Because I am sure that parents can help their children to acquire language skills through cooperation at home.
Before filming, the Estonian language teacher suggested watching cartoons in Estonian. The cartoons Naksitralli and Suur Tõll (1980) were selected and directed from YouTube. After that, the discussion of the characters’ activities was in their mother tongue. We found and watched how other children’s theater circles played fairy tales as well. After all, the 3rd grade student chose the fairy tale “Bread Cake” .
The role of the translator
Once the text of the fairy tale had been read, the next step was to write out all the unknown words and then translate them. The child did it himself on the computer. The http://portaal.eki.ee dictionary was used for translation. He helped himself not to have a problem translating later. It is up to the parents to show here that the child can learn independently. In this situation, it is right to make the transition so that you are equal and there is now an employment relationship between you. Start playing cinema making.
It is necessary to be demanding during the translation check, but to allow the use of help. Say that the actor must fully understand what he is saying. At first, check as many times as necessary so that the child can translate freely without help. After two readings, take a break so that learning is not boring. In order to understand how to film whey explanatory videos, especially parts of how loud cartoons. And return to the task after the break.
The work of a director
When the content is clear, the question immediately arises as to what to film, that it was a striking and modern, but not mediocre show. From several ideas we chose to use STEM robot kits (which is also taught in application programming). If Tallinn Mustjõe Gymnasium Primary School has already tried to use the Robo Wunderkind set in the lesson, the class teacher Tatjana Kobašova approved such an idea.
Now it was time to do the director’s job. If the director is first a planner, then the first task was to divide the text. An electronic spreadsheet was created for this, where for each scene it was necessary to write the duration, the main characters and briefly describe the stage decoration.
Like an audio operator
The next role is the sound operator. The parent must set the microphone on the computer to have the ability to record voice. For example, we tried the following programs: Voice recorder , Open Broadcaster Software, Audacity , and 3 microphones with different sensitivities were also tried. The loudness of the recorded voice and the presence of background noise depends on the microphone and the voice recording program. We were more comfortable with Audacity, because you can make changes to the saved section later. When the recording location was ready, we tried to find the right distance from the microphone. We have started from 15 centimeters away and the better recording on the selected microphone was 10 cm. It is good if the microphone has a base so that the child does not hold the microphone in his hand. It’s easy to try. Just record and listen. Let the student choose which option is better and place the microphone according to the child’s choice.
The role of the narrator
When the preparation is done. The child tries to play the role of a narrator. Let him record at least 3 versions for each protagonist’s speech. Then a better version will present to the listener. It is very polite to explain what needs to be improved. This usually concerns pronunciation and intonation. It was especially difficult to correct words where there was a soft letter L. Then the student saves the speeches independently again. Some of the protagonist’s speech recordings have been 10 times, some less. We had 4 trials in two days.
The next task was to think about the stage and construct his decorations from a Lego designer. That was the fun part. I think it’s a lot more fun than making it out of paper. But the designer blocks weren’t enough to make a decoration for every scene right away. Then, together with the director, we chose the order in which the scenes were filmed.
Designer and robot operator
The main characters we have decided to make Robo Wunderkind STEAM learning kits . Lego adapters are included in the Robo Wunderkind kit. Mainly parts of the Lego constructor were used to give Robo Wunderkind the shape of a human or animal. In order to create taati and eideke prototypes had been taken Robo Wunderkind Education two sets. The details of the other Lego sets were made with elements on the outside, such as a hat, dress, hands.
The most difficult thing was to figure out how the main characters could behave in the scene, because solving this problem required knowledge of the robot’s functionality. It was necessary to help with that. The next step was to program the robots. If there are two statues in the film clip. Then it was necessary to write a program for each robot separately and then run them at the same time. To do this, we looked at the concept of the cycle and programmed the robots to repeat the action.
It has not been so easy to choose an actor for the role of a bun. A total of 4 candidates were nominated: a stress-free ball, a flying spherical robot, a “Kendama” toy and an ultrasonic sensor Robo Wunderkind. Each candidate was tried in the film clip “The loaf of bread is cooled on the windowsill”. The ultrasonic sensor Robo Wunderkind was best suited for this role. Although the bun was chosen, there was also a problem with his movement. There were two options: throw him to show a spin or give the subject a ride. When we are filming a modern story, it was logically the vehicle of choice. The vehicle used was a PASCO Scientific smart cart (usually used in physics classes to measure speed and acceleration from a distance). There is a fan on the smart carriage and it has three speeds that can be adjusted (in some scenes this was beneficial).
It was especially difficult for the child to imagine how a fox could eat a loaf of bread. This gave rise to the idea of using Footon (Photon) learning robots in addition to the Robo Wunderkind STEM kit. Magnetic masks are also offered for the Photon learning robot. They have two options: a finished mask and a mask base that you can draw yourself.
However, the child was interested in finding pictures of the mask on the Internet. He wanted to print them out on a color printer and glue them to a magnetic mask. Initially, this idea was accepted. It was only when he had already found and printed out the masks that it was discovered that there was a copyright notice on the image ( © Copyright) . We briefly explained to the child what copyrights are and why it is better not to use such a mask in the pictures. Only printed masks could be used for inspiration. Then we drew our own rabbit, fox, wolf and bear masks. The child cuts them out. Double-sided adhesive tape was used to attach the masks to the photon magnetic masks on the base. Then we used only one mask from the set for three characters. Photon robots allow you to record a voice message and play it later. We considered using this feature. We decided not to use it this time.
The next stage was the day of filming. First there was the sample. Inside it was necessary to control how to use 3 light sources to minimize shadows in the frame.
A different issue arose in the film clip, where the bun on the window table is cooled because there are no active activities. Then a fine technique was used. The figure does not move, but the shadows move like clouds in the sky.
Although the filming itself took 8 hours, it took two days. It is difficult to keep a child’s attention more. After the video was saved from the camera’s memory card to the computer’s hard drive. A separate folder was created for each scene, and sorting was created inside the folder. Each clip was viewed multiple times. After that, each file was given a new name – the scene number and its order. The start and end time of the film clip in seconds was placed in the table, later it was specified during editing.
The video processing was done by a tenth grade student. It took two full working days, or 16 hours. Freeware video editing programs OpenShot Video Editor or Shotcut Video Edito r can be used. Hromakey (green background) was used in the filming. This technology allows you to replace the background of the selected color (most commonly green or blue) with another new image in the video processing software. We had the green background replaced against the drawn forest. This is a very large processing process, it is necessary to cut out the necessary objects in each frame. For example, a film and a loaf of bread lasts 40 seconds, but it took 4 hours to assemble.
In this way, the third grade student tested himself in several professions: stage designer, director, robot operator, cameraman, sound operator.
# distance learning / Video / Estonian fairy tale “Bread Cake”
Teacher of Estonian at Tallinn Mustjõe Gymnasium (TMG): Maria Kaetri
Supporter and class teacher of the idea: Tatiana Kobashova
Narrator / stage designer / sound operator / director: TMG 3rd grade student Velimir Tsõgankov
Editor / robot operator / cameraman: TMG 10th grade student Arseni Tsõgankov
Taat – Robo Wunderkind education set and Lego blocks, tablet Mediapad T5
Eideke – Robo Wunderkind education kit and Lego bricks, iPad Pro
Rabbit – Photon (Photon) STEM set and DIY mask + smart device based on Android.
Hunt – Photon (Photon) STEM set and DIY mask
The bear shape was made from two Robo Wunderkind education sets and a self-drawn mask was used
Fox – Photon (Photon) STEM set and two DIY self-drawn masks.