In December, the fifth graders voted on the top six environmental concerns that had been addressed in the persuasive essays. These six topics became the subjects for the public service announcments. The students joined the group whose topic they had written about in their essays, so that each group would contain "experts" on that topic.
In January, Zanker fifth graders chose roles from the following video production jobs: Actor or actress, director/producer, camera operator, and storyboard artist. Students were given instruction and practice in performing the work required of their particular roles. The entire class in general, and the camer operators in particular, learned basic video camera functions, as well as different kinds of shots and angles used when filming. The teacher showed various student-created PSAs, downloaded from the Web. The class, with the teacher's guidance, critiqued each of the PSAs, in order to recognize the kinds of shots and angles used to film them, as well as the tecniques used to communicate the message. The PSAs were evaluated, to determine what works and what does not work in creating a quality public service announcement.
Storyboarding and Filming
The students then learned how to create storyboards to plan out their public service announcements. Inspiration software was used for the creation of the storyboards. Each collaborative group created a six-shot storyboard that included dialogue between the actors/actresses, the most critical facts about their topic from their research, and the persuasive message urging viewers to take action. The teacher uploaded all of the storyboards to a PDA that could be displayed using the Palm OS version of Inspiration. To view a sample storyboard, click here. Toward the end of January, the students filmed the PSAs. The directors of each group used the PDA to display their group's storyboard in order to direct the actors/actresses and the camera operators.
Video Editing and Production
After all filming was completed, students learned the basics of digital video editing, using Pinnacle Studio software. The students edited and produced the final versions of the PSAs, and uploaded these to their think.com web pages. The students also wrote a reflection on what they learned and enjoyed about each step of the environmental projects, and posted these to their think.com web pages. To view a sample public service announcement, click here.
After the environmental project was completed, the students wrote a reflection and posted it to their think.com web pages. For this assignment the students reflected on what they learned, and enjoyed, about each step of the entire project, from the research phase through the production of the public service announcements. One student's reflection captures the students' valuable learning experience gained from participation in this project. To view the reflection, click here.