Over the Christmas holidays, we visited with my 91 year old dad and 85 year old stepmom in Florida. Both are still very active and my dad cooked Chinese food for us every night. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, but I finally filmed my dad cooking with him giving me instructions along the way. I couldn’t wait to use Windows Live Movie Maker and piece it all together and put it up on YouTube. Now my sister in NY and my niece and nephew and friends can all see him in his favorite element. My sister, due to her illness, has been unable to visit my father and has not seen him in action for years. She was thrilled to see him cooking which I’m sure brought back many memories of us growing up. I wish that I had done this before my mother had passed away. I think of all the years I have wasted and not done this. Well, I can’t make up for lost time but at least I can start now.
I think this will also be a great way to pass down some of his cooking techniques. I found it interesting that he slipped in a story about when he first came from China and caused an incident in his father’s restaurant. He didn’t have knowledge of the English language and used profanity which caused a waitress to storm out and luckily two prostitutes who were customers donned some aprons and helped him out.
I want to suggest that you find some of your elderly family members and talk to them. Have them tell you stories. Ask them if they would mind if you film them because you don’t want to forget their stories and you want to share it with younger generations. These people have such rich stories to tell of their youth and their life and we don’t appreciate it enough. Of course, it may take more than one visit for them to warm up and feel comfortable talking so be patient.
I was afraid to try Movie Maker and finally bit the bullet and gave it a try. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to use. It was on my computer so it didn’t cost me anything so you might have some movie program on your computer too. I just used the video function on my digital camera. I started and stopped taping so there were many pieces that I just joined together as one. I was able to add a title screen, captions, and even credits.
I think this would be an easy and fun lesson to do with students. Have them tape a story told by their parents or relatives. If their family member doesn’t want to be filmed, film the student telling the story. Then have them use the program to edit their movie.
Now I can’t wait to get back to Florida to visit my dad for more cooking lessons. I told him that he has to live to be over 100 because I have lots of plans for filming and he is the star!
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).