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30 Ways In 30 days

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Keywords: documentary, book publishing, Flip Video, change
Subject(s): Journalism, Science, English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Photography, Information Skills, Writing, Technology, Video, Civics
Grades 5 through 6
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Knox Elementary School, Chandler, AZ
Planned By: Michael Buist
Original Author: Michael Buist, Chandler
1. Students read Judith Viorst's anthology If I Were In Charge of the World.
2. Students created original poems based on the theme of if/when we are in charge of the world.
3. Students read/evaluated others' poetry, using a graphic organizer that highlighted keywords in the poem and an overall theme.
3. Teacher posted these themes for students to open and close sort.
4. Students recognized that many of the themes revolved around young people taking control of their world at a much earlier age, rather than waiting for other people to make a change.
5. Students viewed John Mayer's "Wating on the World to Change" on YouTube and analyzed the visual images as well as the lyrics.
6. Students utilized a log book to begin brainstorming ideas for their 30 Ways in 30 Days project.
7. After deciding on a topic and before beginning the project, students had to answer questions like, "It is now 30 days after you started your project. Why were you successful? Who or what helped you be successful? What challenges did you face?"
8. Students developed an action plan for their project. What would they do? When would they complete it? What resources would they need? What experts were needed?
9. Students used an organizer on the whiteboard to record their progress over the course of 30 days in 5 day increments. The purpose for this was to hold student accountable.
10. Depending on the project, some students worked at school (mentoring/teaching other students, fundraising, cleaning up campus) or worked outside of school (interviewing experts, volunteering at animal shelters, etc.).
11. During the project students are expected to use Flip Video cameras to record important moments, interviews, or other interesting events that would help tell a story in a documentary.
12. Video clips are stored on student flash drives and are converted to WMV format using WinFF to be used on Windows Movie Maker.
13. Students add voice overs using MP3 players or other audio software like Audacity.
14. Student add still images, titles, and other effects to their Windows Movie.
15. Students are creating story boards for an original book to be published in April.
16. Students must have seven pages of text and seven illustrations or photographs. Students can choose a genre that best illustrates their project. Some students might create a picture book on recycling that younger students can check out from the library. Others might create a non-fiction text on the impact that hybrid or electric vehicles have on carbon emissions.
17. Before working on their final products (documentary and book), teams of students created rubrics to evaluate these products.
18. Drafts of the documentaries and books will be on display for student-led conferences in March. Final products will be on display at a local gifted learners conference in May.
19. Students must also complete a reflection statement about their project. Students must think about what went well and what could be revised in terms of the overall project, the products, and the presentation of the products.
The teacher has posted pictures of the project on the class' Flickr photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/buistfamily/sets/72157626014785030/). He has created a blog to highlight the work he is doing with his 30 Ways project as well as the progress the students are making (http://30ways30days.tumblr.com/).

Several students have created websites or blogs to showcase their work.
- http://3030mgm.blogspot.com/ (Maya's blog)
- http://ecoorigami.webs.com/ (Maya's website)
- http://whyarewegoinggreen.blogspot.com/ (Mani's blog)
- http://letsexercise.weebly.com/ (Pratik's blog)
- http://earthlover101.blogspot.com/ (Shruthi's blog)
- http://ryanelementarysroom36.blogspot.com/ (Tony's blog)
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This extended lesson expects students to utilize their skills as a writer to create an original book. Students are also expected to use or develop film making and video editing skills to produce a documentary. Students explore their place in the world and understand how one person can make a difference. Depending on the individual project, students might be collecting data or reading to younger students. Some students might be researching the effect of CO emissions and the effect on the environment.
Students must present their documentaries to a larger audience at a local gifted learners conference sponsored by the Chandler Unified School District. Their books will also be on display for the community to view.
Links: Link to BuistCats YouTube channel
Materials: Writing, English/Language Arts, Flash/USB Drives, Tripods, Camera/Video Accessories, Video Tools, Elementary, Microphones, MP3 Players, Digital Voice Recorders, Projector Screens, Auditorium, Point and Shoot, Flip Video, Video Cameras, Whiteboards, Science, Social Studies, Word Processor, Authoring and Publishing, Integrating Technology