Discover a fun (low-prep) project you can use to review, create a sense of closure, and even create fun memories in these last days of distance learning.
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Distance learning has completely upended our end-of-the-year traditions, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still do something meaningful, engaging, and even fun in the final days of school.
How about a simple, low-prep project-based learning activity?
Have your students create an educational video.
Giving students a project like this will get their creative juices flowing, help them better understand the topic, and have a bit of fun too - without being a ton of work for you as the teacher. It can also make a fantastic end-of-year review.
step 1: choose the prompt
You need to decide what the basic idea of the video would be. This will depend vastly on your subject & the age of your students. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking in the right direction:
- Re-enact a historical event or scene from a book
- Show how a historic or literary figure might have spent their time in quarantine during COVID-19 closures
- Create a video that explains how [topic] works - bonus points for creativity! (This is especially good for math and science)
- Pretend you’re a teacher and have to explain [topic] to your class. How would you do that?
- Make your own exercise video (for P.E.)
- Create a scene all in [foreign language]
step 2: make a list of topic choices
Once you have the general prompt, create a list of topic choices for students to choose from. For example, if your prompt is to re-enact a historical event, create a list of events that they can choose from.
Keep in mind that everyone will probably want to watch their classmates’ videos, so this is a great opportunity for an amazing year-end review. Simply choose topics that you’ve studied or touched on throughout the year, and then ensure that no more than two students choose the same topic.
step 3: explain the parameters
Give students clear instructions, including how long the video should be.
Consider which of these choices you want to allow for your students:
- Make the video by themselves. In this option, the student is the sole actor.
- Enlist members of their household as extra actors.
- Collaborate with a classmate. In this case, each classmate shoots their own footage and then it is edited together.
step 4: Give time to work on the video & check in periodically.
Remember that a lot of students are actually quite busy, so give them adequate time to complete this project. I recommend replacing virtual class time - or other assignments - with this project, just as you would give in-person class time for in-class project-based-learning.
If you’re having regular class virtually, consider meeting just for the first 5-10 minutes of your class time to check in and answer questions - then releasing everyone to work on their videos individually.
Be sure to check in with your students to make sure they’re working and to answer any questions. You may want to require them to turn in an overview of their idea before they start recording it.
step 5: watch the videos together
Watching the videos together as a class will not only be a fun way to give some closure to your year, but it will also provide a tremendous year-end review.
If you aren’t able to watch them all together in a virtual classroom, post them to your class website so that everyone can view their classmates’ videos on their own time.
Consider having the class vote on awards such as….
- Most creative video
- Most well-produced video
- Most academically impressive video
- Most entertaining video
- Best of show
We hope you and your students enjoy this project together. We hope that it provides meaningful engagement and learning and that it gives you a wonderful memory to look back, despite all the things that didn’t happen.
For more ideas on distance learning, check out our free Virtual Classroom Rules.
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