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Video Projects: Entertain

Sometimes the goal of a video is simply to entertain. Although student productions are often cheerful and amusing, they can also be comforting or thought-provoking. While viewers may learn something from this type of video, the project may just convey a story, imagine a world, or illustrate an idea.

Did you know mathematics can be entertaining? Vi Hart is a mathemusician and enjoys math as a hobby. Watch Visual Multiplication: YouTube. Her videos are a fun way to think about math. Be sure to check out her Mathematical Doodling. Explore Vi Hart's YouTube channel or her website at Vi Hart.

Watch this amazing middle school musical production titled Outcast.

Storytelling can take many forms. The Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS) identified seven elements of Digital Storytelling:

  1. Point of View. What is the main point of the story and what is the perspective of the author?
  2. A Dramatic Question. What question will keep the viewer's attention and be answered at the end of the story?
  3. Emotional Content. What issue will make the story personal and powerful?
  4. The Gift of Your Voice. How will you use your voice to help the audience understanding the context?
  5. The Power of the Soundtrack. What music or other sounds will support and contribute to the story?
  6. Economy. How can the story be told with just enough content without overloading the viewer?
  7. Pacing. How will the rhythm of the story progress at a rate that is pleasing for the audience?

Take 1Try It: Digital Storytelling
Watch one of the videos on this page. Does it reflect the seven elements of digital storytelling?

Tell a Story

Storytelling is the art of conveying a sequence of events to express character, plot and setting. Ask students to write a script for a story in a particular genre: Action-adventure, Animal story, Crime, Detective, Fantasy, Historical fiction, Horror, Inspirational, Mystery, Realistic fiction, Romance, Science fiction, or Western. Also, consider creating a film in a foreign language.

Rather than using human characters, consider the use of props or pets. Watch the classic film Little Kitten. It combines a puppet with a kitten. The AV Geeks have digitized lots of public domain videos for sharing on the web.

Retell a Story

Involve students in retelling a picture book or creating a script for a chapter from a book. Or, share local myths, legends, and folklore. Retell a classic story such as Cinderella. Re-enact a short story or picture book using puppets, dolls, or Lego people.

Update a Story

Take a classic story and bring it up-to-date. Or, place the story in a different setting or use varied types of characters.

Elementary Example. Ask children to update an Aesop's fable. In The Fox and the Leopard children learn that "a fine coat is not always an indication of an attractive mind". A group of children my write a script with the following conversation:
CHILD 1: I have a new haircut, an expensive sweater, and cool glasses. Do you want to be my friend?
CHILD 2: Friendship isn't about fancy things. I want friends who think for themselves.

Record a Theatrical Program

Keep in mind that some plays (particularly musical) restrict recording and dissemination. Before recording a performance check for any restrictions on use.

Create a Music Video

Tell a story through music. To accomplish this goal, students must exercise creativity and cooperation.

Watch Somewhere over Web 2.0 from Wizard of Apps: The Musical.

Make a Television Show

Many schools are holding their own American Idol- type programs. However there are other ways to incorporate television-like programs into learning. For instance, involve students in using a popular program such as CSI as inspiration for their own science show.

Record a Game Show

Use the game show format to share understandings and also entertain the audience.

Re-enact a Time in History

Provide students with a list of historical events related to the history curriculum. Ask them to re-enact an encounter, scene, or situation. Take on the role of a specific person such as an explorer or scientist. Or, explore the people from a particular decade.

Create an If I Were... Video

Ask students to imagine. What would it be like to be something different from themselves?

Make a Speculative Video

Rather than simply focusing on the famous people in history, ask students to create a video representing how an everyday person might react to a well-known figure. What would it have been like for your great, great, grandmother to meet Eleanor Roosevelt? What might she ask?

Ask students to ponder what would happen if people could travel through time or if fictional characters came to life.

Consider a conversation between two people on a topic where they agree or disagree. What would this conversation look like?

Take 1Try It: Tell a Story
Create a 30-second story with a beginning, middle, and end. Your characters should be objects such as a stapler and paperclip (human hands are okay) rather than people. This should make script reading much easier. The video will be a single, self-contained scene with no editing. Record it three times and pick your best.


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