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Welcome to Our School!

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Keywords: enrichment, new students, Flip Video, journalism
Subject(s): English/Language Arts, Information Skills, Reading, Writing, Technology, Video, Journalism, Drama
Grades 3 through 5
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: South Lebanon Elem School, Lebanon, PA
Planned By: John Mohn
Original Author: John Mohn, Lebanon
The length of this lesson will vary depending on the amount of time teachers have students in their classrooms. This plan is written for my third grade enrichment students whom I see twice a week for 45 minutes.

Essential Questions: How can we help new students feel welcome at our school?

Activating Strategy: Read, First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg, to students. Then, invite students to create a wordsplash of adjectives describing what it would feel like to move and go to a new school.

Teaching Strategy:

Day 1
Give each collaborative pair of students a map of our school. Ask the pairs to decide what is important to know about our schools. Students highlight what they feel is important (i.e., cafeteria, gymnasium, office, bathrooms, school nurse, playground, etc.). Then, ask students to determine what is important about our school that is not on the map (i.e., the school creed, morning and afternoon routines, school rules, etc.).

Day 2
Gather and display all of the information the students created during the last period. Explain the goal of the project to students - To create a “Welcome to Our School” video for new students. As a whole group, decide rank on a scale of 1-3 (1 = not important, 3 = very important) the displayed information. Then, students will choose which parts of the video project they will cover. (For instance, a pair of students might select the cafeteria.) Once selections are made, students create a word web of all of the important things new students should know about that part of our school.

Day 3
Model how to “report” on a specific place in our school. (For this example, I am going to use the nurse’s office.) Write a list of important items to know about the nurse’s office - where it is, the nurse’s name, the waiting procedure, etc. Then, using the overhead projector, begin writing a “script” on how to present this information on video. After the script is written, practice speaking in front of the students as if reporting from the nurse’s office. Now students will begin writing their own scripts for the places or events they have chosen to report on.

Day 4
Show students how to use Flip video cameras. Encourage them to conduct a brief interview with their partner where they will ask partners at least five questions while recording them with the Flip video camera. Have students watch their interviews and evaluate their performances based on rubric items which include camera operation (steady, focused, appropriate distance) and sound. Students share their evaluations and reflections with the whole group. Allow more time for students to feel comfortable with the Flip video cameras.

Before our next class, students will report on the areas they have chosen to focus on for our “Welcome to Our School” video. This will be an out-of-class project because many times the areas have specific times of operations (cafeteria, playground, bus arrival, etc.) Students will have to come to my room to check out the Flip Cams before doing their reporting. Remind students that this is a practice session and they will most likely need or want to do additional filming.

Day 5
Share the work the students have captured on video with the whole group. Students will use another rubric to evaluate each others video. Discuss thoughts and reactions. Encourage students to use constructive criticism. Remind students to view the video as if they were a new student at our school.

*Before our next class, students will repeat their assignment. They will use the constructive criticisms from their peers to create an improved video. Encourage students to add creativity and style to their video. The video should be informative as well as entertaining to new students.

Day 6
(For this lesson, teachers must arrange in advance a Skype meeting with a teacher and students from another school. I would choose a teacher who teaches in my school district but at another building. The videos my students created the second time would be sent to another teacher for his/her students to evaluate before our Skype meeting.) Today my students will hear from students who attend a different school to determine if the video clips would be informative and valuable for new students. We will interact with each other in real time through a Skype meeting.

After our Skype meeting, allow students to process what they’ve heard and learned from the students who attend a different school. Before our next class, they will have another opportunity to create a video on their featured assignment. Also, for the next class, ask students to write a reflection on how their videos have changed from their first one to their last one.

Day 7
Ask students to share their reflections about how their videos have changed from when they first started taping. Model how to edit their videos on the computers. Have students edit some of their older videos to get a feel of how the editing works. Once they feel comfortable with it, they can edit their final piece. Assist students with this process.

Day 8
Celebrate!!! Have a premiere party to show the final video. If the class feels it does not need any more revisions, post the video on our school web site and make several copies on a disk. This way, new students can watch the video online or they can receive a disk from the school office when they register at our school.

Summarizing Strategy: A “Welcome to Our School” video for new students designed and created by third graders
This activity could be redone each year with a new group of students.
Materials: Mobile Labs
Other Items: 1 Projector screen
4 Computers
6 Flip Video, $150.00 each, total of $900.00
10 DVDs