The 4 year old test...

When you prepare a presentation, er performance, for any group, may I suggest this:

Prep as if you were going to talk to a class of four year olds

Adults need the same thing, though you won't get the same instantaneous feedback, in terms of involvement and attention.

My daughter's nursery school has a program called "Star of the Week. " Each parent is invited to come in to do an activity with the class.

I elected to create a digital movie with them as the co-creators and main stars.

I knew, however, that the attention span of a 4 year old can be very limited.

I scripted out each step and prepared vigorously for it, knowing that any glitch or hesitation could cause me to lose my audience.

I got there early to set up.

Here's my checklist:

Set up

  1. confirm activesync bluetooth connection between Phone and PC
  2. open Phone to pictures folder (Computer\T-Mobile Dash\Storage Card\My Documents\My Pictures)
  3. open One Note
  4. confirm tablet ink is working properly
  5. open up audio recording for One Note
  6. open Paint
  7. open MovieMaker
  8. hook up speakers
  9. hook up projector

I knew that involvement was the key. It had to be a dialogue.

"Do you guys like to watch movies and DVD's?"


"Good, because today you are going to help me make a movie."

And here's the script I used to make sure that everything flowed smoothly.

    1. Start in One Note

    2. Give four kids a chance to draw in one note

    3. Copy picture to Paint

    4. Save to CDE star folder

    5. Begin recording in One Note

    6. Let 3 kids sing in one file

    7. Save to CDE start folder as .wma

    8. Take pictures of kids on camera phone

    9. Take pictures of 4 kids

    10. Show them the picture on the phone

    11. Refresh the folder on the PC

    12. Show them "like magic" how the picture moves from the phone to the PC

    13. Move pictures to CDE star folder

    14. Import all media to Movie Maker

    15. Start in Storyboard

    16. Add pictures

    17. Let 4 kids choose the order of the pictures

    18. Add effects

    19. Let 2 kids choose effects from these four (3d ripple, ease out, ease in, spin)

    20. Add transitions (Let 2 kids choose the transitions)

    21. Import the previously recorded song (from one note)

    22. Add music

    23. Let 1 kid choose the music

    24. Put in the Title/Credits in (the names of the students)

    25. Show the movie

Sounds extreme, but I'll say this...

They made me show the movie 4 times! (we changed it a little bit each time, too for fun)

By the 3rd time, there were 16 kids dancing to the soundtrack.

And, in spite of it all, there was one kid who said "I'm bored of watching the movie."

If you can keep a class of 4 year olds engrossed (for the most part), then you can keep a room full of adults hooked!