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informVideo Projects: Inform

Many traditional curriculum activities involve communicating knowledge to others. Young people need to be able to organize information in meaningful ways to express their understandings. Consider interesting ways students can share their knowledge by explaining, defining, reporting, and sharing the results of inquiry.

Read the article Stories Worth Telling: A Guide to Creating Student-Led Documentaries.
Watch Pier 21 Gateway of Hope by elementary children. What makes this an effective documentary? What techniques and resources (i.e., video, photos, maps, etc.) were used?
Watch When I Had My First Child by high school students. How are interviews woven into the story?

Create Documentaries

A documentary is a work of nonfiction intended to document some aspect of reality.

Read Documentary and DocuDrama by Bernajean Porter to learn about this type of storytelling.

Update a Classic Informational Video

Some videos have good information, but they have become dated. Ask students to update a classic.

For fun, watch some old informational videos and compare them with newer videos. Create your own.

Create a Personal or Family History

Ask students to share their personal history. Rather than tracing their entire life, share personal artifacts that represent phases in their life such as a stuffed animal, baseball glove, piece or jewelry, or a favorite video game. Or, focus on a family event or experience.

Organize Information

Students often have a difficult time figuring out how to share their understandings. Design assignments that require students to categorize information, seek patterns, build diagrams, or visualize results. For instance, students might trace the history of an invention. Students might incorporate some of the following elements in planning or in visualizing information: Timeline, Cycle, Chain of Events, Clusters, Tables.

Use before/after to show the impact of an event. Or, use a chronological approach to a single day, weather event, building construction, plant growth, growth of mold, etc.

In science, show a chain or process. Can you see the food chain at work in your neighborhood?

Represent Information

In traditional projects, students take text information and simply reorganize then submit this text information. Video provides an opportunity to transfer text-based learning into a new form. Ask student to use visual representations relationships, demonstrate causality, or express time through physical actions or visual changes. Use visuals to support arguments. For instance, a video of a bee on a flower provides evidence of the important role of bees in pollination. Ask students to visualize a shadow clock. Take a series of shots (stop action) during the day tracking the movement of the shadow.

Show two ways to solve a problem or illustrate a solution such as coins for making change.

Explore a math concept such as tessellations or shapes and create a video showing this concept in the "real world."

Narrate an Informational Video

One of the easiest ways to create an informational video is to use stock footage and still images to tell a visual story. Then, record narration over the video. Begin with a video without narration. Provide your own narration.

Read Making GREAT VoiceOvers by Bernajean Porter for ideas.

You could start with a video that contains no audio such as A Journey to Xiangtangshan: YouTube. Or, you could take a video that contains audio and remove the sound track. Use one of the many government resources that would be in the public domain.

Take 1Try It: Create an Informative Nature Video
Select a nature movie clip (below) and record your own narration to go with the video. Your clip should include at least three facts and one opinion. Share your video with a classmate. Can they pick out your facts and opinion?

Choose one of the following movies to narrate. They are 15-30 seconds in length. Right-click and save the video on your hard drive in My Documents>My Videos

  1. Bear: Video, Still Images
  2. Buffalo: Video 1, Video 2, Still Images
  3. Coyote: Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Still Images
  4. Deer: Video 1, Video 2, Still Images
  5. Eagle: Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Still Images
  6. Elk: Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Video 4, Still Images
  7. Fire: Video 1 (controlled burn), Video 2, Video 3, Still Images
  8. Lizard: Video 1, Still Images
  9. Mining: Video 1, Still Images
  10. Prairie Dogs: Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Still Images
  11. Sea Turtle: Video 1, Still Images
  12. Streams and Rivers: Video 1 (leaf in stream), Video 2 (riverbank and eagles), Still Images
  13. Turkey: Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Still Images
  14. Waterfall: Video 1, Still Images
  15. Waterfowl: Video 1 (duck), Video 2 (nene), Video 3 (swan), Video 4 (swan), Still Images

This project was adapted from an idea by Amy Boehman. If needed, review her Movie Maker directions.
The videos are all from Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson's collection. You will NOT be able to import .MOV files into Movie Maker. Instead, use the Video links above.

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