Sunday, October 30, 2011

Surviving a Zombie Attack and Why Your Students Need to See This

This video is perfect for Halloween. It's fun and teaches a great lesson that hopefully no one will ever need. In all seriousness, this video can be a great jumping-off point to an effective activity for your students. See below for how to incorporate this type of simplistic digital storytelling into your classroom.

This might be too scary for very young children, but if you feel comfortable showing this to your older students, you might use this very simplistic method of explaining in one of your lessons:

  1. Have your students create a similar video on a topic they are currently learning or a book they are reading (they can retell the story or explain a particular portion). 
  2. Discuss the importance of creating a timeline and script. In my discussions with , from , I learned that the script is the most important part to providing effective explanations.
  3. Put students in small groups to create cutouts of their stories, practice their scripts and then film them from above. 
When I did this with my students, I used a rectangular table or student's desk with Scotch tape to identify the camera area and I stood on a chair over my students' backs while holding a Flipcam. (In retrospect, a cheap tripod would have been much better and safer.) I did this with my fourth grade students (video below) when they were learning about the Water Cycle and again when we studied the seasons. Since students will be required to be succinct in their verbiage, this fits particularly well with the below:

L.7.3a. Choose language that expresses ideas precisely and concisely, recognizing and eliminating wordiness and redundancy

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Hi Lee,

I liked the project you completed with your grade 4 students. The interactive use of video within the project undoubtedly worked to motivate your students, and allowed them to develop collaboration skills and make personal connections to the introduced concepts. With regards to the completed student projects what became of them? Were they published on-line for parent viewing? How long did it take you to complete the project? Only asking because I am always looking for activities to utilize with my English as a second language learners, your idea would definitely offer my students yet another avenue to develop and 'physically' demonstrate language understanding. Cheers...


When my students finished their projects, I uploaded them to our internal Vodcast server which allowed me to use the embed code and share them on my class blog. The blog was/is open to the public, so parents were encouraged to visit often. You can see the blog here:

The project took a week from start to finish. One took a little longer because a student was absent and I wouldn't let her group complete their project without her.

Thanks for your comment and for visiting my blog.