Being able to effectively communicate in the 21st century is essential. Advertisers have efficient communication down to an art. (And at $3 million for a 30-second Superbowl slot, they'd better!) They must pick the perfect story, image, background, words, and music to engage an audience and sell a product in under a minute. By creating their own commercials, students learn to pay attention to detail and discover some fun technology.
Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono.
In our classroom, a.k.a. Studio 24, we produce two types of commercials:
#1 The Movie Trailer
One commercial is a movie trailer for a book the students have read. Basically, the assignment is, "If this book was made into a movie, what would a commercial promoting that movie look like?" The students then envision the movie and create a storyboard for the commercial. Upon storyboard approval, they receive a Flip Video camera for recording their footage. Then, using Movie Maker, they download and edit their clips into a one-minute commercial. Although my district does not use Apple products, I will say Apple's iMovie is a more user-friendly moviemaking program.
#2 The Public Service Announcement (PSA)
The second type of commercial is a PSA on one of the life skills we discuss in class. I devote about six hours to this project. I prefer to have only half of the class working on movies at a time as it seems easier to manage.
We were excited this year because a compilation video of our classroom TV spots was posted on the Foundation for a Better Life Web site, not as an actual TV spot, but as something worth passing on. Also, in a prior year my students were inspired by the Discovery Channel "Boom De Yada" commercial. They made their own version seen here, and Discovery actually used a portion of our version in the second run of the commercial (click on "commercial" in the middle of the page).
The Flow of the Lessons
Watch three student sample commercials (2 minutes).
Another Idea: Booktalks
Fellow blogger Mary Blow shared another great idea for using these Flip Video cameras: book talks. Check out her post and her sample videos. I have tried this, and the students really enjoyed it.
Benefits of Student-Made Videos
An Authentic Audience
It is always nice to have an audience to present to. In Chippewa Valley this year we held a technology showcase for the public. Students from elementary to high school from around the district participated in this science fair-esque display of technology. In the pictures below you see my students talking about what they learned to other students, parents, and administrators. The kids love showing off their work to interested people. We will also be showcasing the commercials during breaks at our upcoming poetry night. Here is an idea for schools with video morning announcements: feature a life skill commercial once a week.
What projects do you do that incorporate the use of movie editing software?
2i2 is a trademark of Mr. Vasicek's classroom. It means going above and beyond every day and doing so with integrity.