Documenting 2017: Third Grade Archival Video Project

Guest post by Johanna Schein, Gilman Archivist: Over the course of the year, Ms. Reiter’s third grade class has been getting an insider’s look at Gilman School history. By analyzing photographs, objects, and documents in the Gilman Archives, students have learned about Gilman’s past as well as the value of a primary source in research.

To culminate the year-long partnership between 3A and the Gilman Archives, the students created a historic record of their own. The students first analyzed this archival 1940 video that depicted daily life for Gilman students.

The boys were intrigued by the similarities and differences between Gilman then and now, and the video sparked questions from “were students sleeping at the school then?” (yes) to “why was there no sound?” (the original 16mm film was recorded without audio).

Using the 1940 video as inspiration, we discussed what scenes the students would record now if they wanted to document 2017 for future generations. The class voted to record the classroom, recess, P.E., lunch, specials, and Mr. Smyth. In small groups, the students recorded short videos on their iPads. The final product is now a formal part of the Gilman Archives!

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