Student-created Video Productions



  • to engage the students in a meaningful, interactive, and engaging project
  • to provide students an opportunity to collaborate, be creative, problem solve, use all four language domains (reading, writing, listening, and speaking), and to integrate content knowledge
  • to give students real way to learn about writing for an audience and with a specific purpose
  • provide visual input to learners which is essential for supporting struggling learners, solidifying knowledge, and reaching a generation of learners who are inundated with visual stimulus on a daily basis.
  • to allow students to play the role of the expert

High School Context

Context: I teach ESL. I have two groups. One class is composed of beginning-level English Language Learners. The other is composed of Developing ELL's.

Prior to the project: I found a great article in that was about a scientist who had composed a set of Haiku/watercolor illustrations to distill the most important points from the IPCC's massive and heady report on global climate change. This article provided a great opportunity to integrate content areas.

NewsELA is a great resource because you can keep a digital binder and can print or assign articles at different lexile levels. This gave me a chance to have a common article to discuss with students at various levels.

Prior to our video project, we built our knowledge of climate change in a variety of ways, including the NewsELA reading, watching video, discussions, and I had them research and record the similarities and differences between the opposing viewpoints on climate change and record them on a Vinn Diagram. The depth of research for this level of ELL's was made possible by using Chromebooks because they could research in their native languages and use Google translate to aid them.

The Video Project

Climate Change News Report

1) Write and perform a new report about the climate change.

2) What is climate change?

4) Report about the effects of climate change.

You may want to interview a climatologist. A climatologist is a scientist who studies the climate.

5) Report about the causes of climate change.

Does your expert believe that climate change is caused by humans? Perhaps you want to have two experts who disagree about this.

6) Discuss the possible solutions. You may want to interview a legislator for this role.

7) Each group member should have at least 3 lines.

8) After I check your script, you will practice performing your news report. You can bring props or use Powerpoint to add pictures/diagrams. This will give you bonus points.

9) You will then record and edit your newscast.

We will perform this on _______________.

The Technology

We used a single iPad to record the newscasts and iMovie on a single Macbook Pro to edit. Because I have a small class, this worked out okay and I was able to help each group. iMovie is very easy to use and has good preset themes and sound effects.

Group work

I recommend strategic grouping. Heterogeneous groups can be chosen to support struggling learners or to spread out the students who are strong at technology. "Slackers" can be put together to add a little pressure. Each teacher knows his/her own class, but I tend to avoid letting students choose their own groups. Teachers can ask for anonymous group wishlists instead.

Positive Outcomes

My students were very engaged and excited to create a newscast. Once they determined what roles they would play, they were quickly engaged in working together to write their part for the newscast. They were also motivated to practice repeatedly to become fluent with their lines. This kind of repeated practice is necessary for fluency but can be very boring if given as a "fluency" assignment. They felt very comfortable recording on the iPad. I had to walk them through editing on iMovie, but they were able to take it over after a little bit.

Negative Outcomes

I had one group that was a little slower to get started, but they eventually got into it.

iMovie was a little tricky when we first tried it on the iPad, so we switched to the computer.


  • This idea can be applied to a range of topics and using a range of program types including talk show, sit com, commercial, soap opera, etc.
  • More freedom of choice can be given if the group is technologically adept. Because my group is English Language Learners and most of them have little experience with video production, I chose to start with a more specific format.
  • We have Chromebook carts now so I would like to experiment more with video editing Apps. These would enable student to edit at the same time (which wasn't possible)