57 ideas for making videos in your school



I was compiling examples of videos that I have made with my classes for an upcoming Digital Literacy course I am teaching that centers around digital story telling.  I wanted to share examples of what you can do if you learn the basics of video editing, and examples of possible stories that teachers and kids could tell. Not all are on this list as perfect digital story telling examples. Some I will use just to show examples of certain types of editing, sound, etc.   Others are examples of what certain levels of kids can do, or what different mics or editing software can do.    I am not going to write the oral commentary that would come with each during the course, but I hope there is something here that could spark an idea for you or your kids.

I would really appreciate it if you left examples of what your kids do in the comments. Thanks.

  1. Class Commercial https://vimeo.com/99952920
  2. Extended class commercial https://goo.gl/P15u9b
  3. Reverse Video https://goo.gl/VUySUf 
  4. Highlight Reel https://goo.gl/UwPy1l
  5. End of year https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o36BVMnDfA0 
  6. Field Trip https://goo.gl/pHE6qG 
  7. Staff fun https://goo.gl/7a7qnK
  8. Stop and Stare https://goo.gl/icuNL
  9. Breaking Up http://goo.gl/3U2rTb
  10. My Darling Wife https://vimeo.com/97481239
  11. Notecard confessions http://goo.gl/R9ndd
  12. Misc Vids https://goo.gl/csDjnI
  13. Crazy Ones https://goo.gl/UQ1OqZ
  14. Misc Videos 2 http://goo.gl/sjRqfm
  15. Hallo https://goo.gl/Vq7v3w
  16. Amazon https://goo.gl/Y4R716 (edit longer video to shorter one for class)
  17. Common Craft Style https://vimeo.com/61009199
  18. No sound https://goo.gl/nByZ1C
  19. Contest Girls https://goo.gl/veLc9B
  20. Passionate teachers https://vimeo.com/61320504
  21. P-Day Intro https://goo.gl/6j3FCS
  22. I’m So Proud https://goo.gl/8BMlrg
  23. Smiles https://goo.gl/aaNqWE
  24. First Day https://goo.gl/BkPQZ9
  25. Imaginary Friends https://goo.gl/8rfBaO
  26. Lessons with Heart https://goo.gl/PkMDNJ
  27. Field Trip https://goo.gl/pHE6qG
  28. Reverse Poem https://goo.gl/mT7do1
  29. RSA https://goo.gl/T5rZw3
  30. Career Day https://goo.gl/zD6fzG
  31. Monroe Doctrine https://goo.gl/ecvHuk
  32. Zombie After School CLub https://goo.gl/Xx6lYy
  33. Stop Action https://goo.gl/sFvFgo
  34. Song Parody Daniel Shays https://goo.gl/JCU6L9
  35. Shay’s Rebellion https://goo.gl/E06kdn
  36. Simple Stories https://goo.gl/pM4NoN
  37. Puppy Mills https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuHvvnJQ9cQ
  38. Poetry Slam https://goo.gl/QsbBW7
  39. Oregon Trail https://goo.gl/S7xh8
  40. Star Spangled Banner https://goo.gl/ieR0Vg
  41. Lewis and Clark https://goo.gl/wjoM1c
  42. Behind the scenes Common Craft https://goo.gl/yC0STl
  43. Civil War Soldier https://goo.gl/al0eH
  44. Rosa Parks https://goo.gl/eQtZjg
  45. Oregon Trail https://goo.gl/LVDG4n
  46. Lewis and Clark https://goo.gl/0qp0cK
  47. Molly Pitcher https://goo.gl/X0I2Yr
  48. Native American Story https://goo.gl/tSFIEj
  49. Dance https://vimeo.com/130050455
  50. Civil War Self https://goo.gl/57KWo
  51. Trail of Tears https://goo.gl/qYJTrM
  52. Detectives https://goo.gl/4Bx8vU
  53. Oregon Trail https://goo.gl/RJoAIs
  54. Expectations https://vimeo.com/48926308
  55. National Anthem https://goo.gl/HYtRRl
  56. Board of Ed Preso https://goo.gl/1NOM61
  57. Music Maddness https://goo.gl/yC810L


An unprecedented view…

About six years ago my class started to participate in a Library of Congress Digital Archiving Program.   The quick explanation is that the LOC realized that today’s kids don’t leave behind many material artifacts, and so set out to digitally archive what they are doing on the internet.  A few years later my school celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary.  I could not help notice that all records and artifacts of our schools existence pretty much stopped about ten years ago–when everything started to go digital.  That is when I decided to start trying to preserve some kind of record of who went to our school and what they did.  I opened up a flickr page and started taking and upload images.  My goal was to document everything that they did for an entire year…let’s just say I did not meet the goal.

Last year we had an ex-student killed in Afghanistan.  As a teacher put together a memorial service for him he found a VHS tape with the student presenting a project for his class when he was in 8th grade, and people turned in photographs of him when he was in 8th grade.  It was incredible to have that physical evidence of his time at our school and it was worked into a video shown at his memorial service (you can see the video at the 1:36 mark).  It was another spark I needed to start documenting what was occurring in our school.

This year I was even more determined to make it happen.  I carried my camera to school each day and to every event the kids attended.  I added almost 1,000 images to our flickr account during the 2013-14 school year.  Their entire year was documented from the first to last.  The very first thing I did when they walked into class, before I even said a word was to video the class. With all of these pictures coming in I decided to start making videos to send home to parents.  This year parents received an unprecedented look into their kids lives.  Not just the pictures they might expect like kids at “big” events or presenting things, but the everyday things they do like walking in the hall, eating lunch, and just making silly faces at one another.  With most of the videos we sent home we included the still images taken up until that point, but also tried to add some extra “story” to the video.  I know for one video one student said her mom watched it ten time and cried each time.  The comments that came back from parents were so positive.  

Next school year take pictures.  Lots of them.  Even when you don’t want to.  Take pictures of all the things you would normally ignore.  Kids walking into your room, standing at lockers, and sitting on the bus for a field trip.  Periodically throw them into a slide show and send them home.  Best investment in home to school communication you will ever make.  

I would like to share some of the videos that were sent home this year.  Some are pretty long.  If you do have some interest in doing something like this I would suggest that you skip around in the videos.  Each video has different parts, each which can be done individually.

The first video parents get is our class commercial (more info on it here).  It obviously does not have their kids, but gives them a glimpse as to what their kids should expect, and after watching they are more likely to sign that little form that allows me to take and post their pictures! I tell them if they do they will have an unprecedented view into their kids’ eighth grade year. The video is broken up into four parts.  

EDIT 11/20/14  Here is our video for 2014-15

The first video that is produced by the kids and sent home is our “three word” video.  After the first day of school the kids are asked to send in images with three words describing their expectations for the year.  While it does not have pictures of the kids, it does set a simple precedent and the kids are more eager to be in the next video that will be sent home.

The next video is what was sent home at the end of the first quarter.  At this point kids are still sooo tentative about doing something special for the video,  You will see some kids lip syncing.  This video opens kids up to “bigger ” things and they want to do something more creative for the next one.

We did a grand reverse video to send home before winter break.  Each class filmed their section in one class period.  There are four distinct sections and each is easily a separate video.  The section that left the moms in tears starts around the 7:00 minute mark.

There were videos sent home for individual events like career day.  The one below has zero fancy editing, just cut and pasted the video I took together and added background music.

Videos of field trips were sent home.  Again, key is to not get caught up in the editing.  There were two cameras being used on the trip.  The only editing was to place the clips from each camera and place them into chronological order. And now that I place this video underneath teh career day one above, I realize that I used the same music in both!

When it came time to send out information about our new recording studio it was the kids who said, “So you’re doing a video?”  Well no, I wasn’t planning on it, but we ended up doing one 🙂

And then finally at end of the year I finally did something I have always wanted to do, I made a video that included footage and pictures from the first to last day.  A couple interesting things to point out.  At the beginning of the video it is the first day of school.  When the camera pans to the right it is their first class with me, when it pans to the left it was their last class.  At the 23:00 minute mark there is a cool idea that again can stand alone as a great class video you can make.  And after that song what you see is kids holding up messages to their friends, and the last song has pictures sent in from the kids.

A newsletter is great. An email home is great.  But there is a reason why a “picture is worth a 1000 words.”  Nothing I write home about their kid will ever replace a parent being able to see their kid smiling.  Next school year, take pictures, take video.  Open a flickr account and dump them all in.  Issues with having images on the internet?  Set them all to private.  At the end-of-the-year download bulkr, download all those images and videos to a folder, suck the entire folder into a simple video editing program like imovie or Movie Maker, throw some music behind them, and sit back and watch with the kids.  

This is now officially one of those no-brainer activities that I must do each year, and you must do it too 🙂