Saturday, March 25, 2006

Chortling Paramedics

My daughter e-mailed me the most recent culmination of her life without school: a Power Point trailer for the fictitious movie, "Chortling Paramedics." The words on the screen are a warning. "When you're in trouble...don't call for help...because you might not get it...if your town has been taken over by Chortling Paramedics!"

It has been interesting to see the evolution behind the product. Caitlin, now age 16, started her e-zine after watching me produce the VaHomeschoolers biweekly Updates for a couple of years, and the HEM Online Newsletter for the past couple of years. Needing content for her e-zine, "The Talisman," Cait began to write some book and movie reviews. In preparing those, she researched other reviews, to obtain a clear sense of what made a quality review, and adopted those elements into her pieces. Her research also took her to authors' sites, and movie sites, where she could pick up the year of release, exact spelling of stars' names, etc. She has apparently read numerous reviews, and has a great film literacy--well beyond that of her movie-challenged mother.

Many of the movie sites include trailers, which Cait and her younger sister, Laurel, have watched, discovering the elements that production houses use to pique viewers' curiosity. They learned Power Point from their lifelong friends, who came over for an afternoon a couple of weeks ago. Each of my kids has produced multiple Power Point slide shows, and her first fictional movie trailer. Production of Caitlin's trailer included learning how to download clip art, sounds, and animations. She learned how to recolor images, white out aspects she did not like, and took Laurel's advice on using a filled-in text box to mask the icon made by a sound clip. Cait also made the movie rating box from scratch, modeled after those she has seen online and at the theater.

I am unable to see where my children will end up, but I can tell they are on a course that incorporates literature, writing, and creativity. It is exciting, a pleasure, and an honor, to be on this journey with them. I would not have it any other way. Chortling Paramedics...who could have imagined?

No comments: