Many classroom teachers simply do not have the time and/or the technical skills to do such a project on their own, and a computer lab resource teacher does not have the necessary time to work and plan with the students.
The idea for this came from an email notification about The Fire Safety Project, a video contest for students. The teacher and I agreed that this would be a worthwhile and appropriate project for the class.
We spent several classes in the classroom, planning. This is something that, as a lab resource teacher, I was never able to do. It was hard to have students come into the computer lab and then not go onto the computers. If I tried to have them plan on the computers, the computers often got in the way, due to technical skills issues and other distractions.
Planning is key-
First we watched some fire safety public service announcements. The students took notes on the fire safety and prevention tips. We talked about what makes a video interesting, what makes a video stick in your mind, how to best communicate through this medium. We also discussed the idea of a PSA- using your movie to teach others.
Then we brainstormed ideas for our movie. Through the brainstorming process (which took two whole classes) students considered several different concepts and ideas for the video. They really took ownership- discussing, deciding, revising- until they agreed upon a slogan and 5 safety and prevention tips.
We filmed pairs of students saying "Stay safe, Be cool. Don't be a fool" and students created individual storyboards to generate ideas for filming the 5 tips. Finally we created a whole class storyboard:
This project completely belonged to the students. The students came up with each and every idea for how to film the scenes, what to say, what props to use. If they didn't think it was right, they did it again, changing, adding, subtracting, improving. I can not emphasize enough the involvement and ownership of the students in each and every decision. They showed patience, perseverance, creativity and an impressive ability to work together as a group.
Process and Product
The process worked, and the students are so proud of their video. Whether it wins the $10,000 prize or not, they have achieved success. Please take a minute and a half to view their video and leave them a comment.