PSAs with some SPARKLE!

Social Studies adds student choice to their PSA project!

Matt Seidita pushes his project a little DEEPER by focusing on Pillar 3: Learning is Student Owned for this Henrico21 submission! 


What is the best way to add variety and a quick way to spice up a project?  Add more options for student choice and voice!!  It is probably the easiest way to take any assignment to the next level while simultaneously making it more engaging!

Here’s the straight talk, in your life, what are the experiences that you’ve enjoyed the most, remembered the best?  Are they the ones where you were told exactly what to do, how to dress, where to be, how to behave with a checklist of requirements?  Or are they the books, hobbies, projects, trips that you picked for yourself?  I don’t know about you but my favorite projects and memories are from times when I was given choice and picked options that utilized my unique skills.

Students are instantly more engaged when they have a variety of options and can express their skills and knowledge in a way that fits them!  So when Matt came to me about doing videos for PSAs and utilizing the iPads we decided to take it just one simple step further.  We offered some choice.

Students in this project were able to decide on their PSA topic, script and even their group members!  We also let them pick between filming or animating their PSA.  They could choose their own tools but were offered options such as green screen and StoryboardThat.

What these small additions to the project provided was more student buy in (especially for those who did not want to be filmed) and a way for every student to shine.  The shy and quiet students were able to focus on scripts, storyboarding and layouts.  The outgoing energetic students loved being in front of the camera while the creative artists liked utilizing animation!  Because there were options for students to share their skills, they were able to find success no matter what option they choose.

So if you’re thinking of how to take a project that you’ve done for years and spice it up a bit, consider adding more choice so your projects are student owned.  It could be as simple as giving them choice on the perspective, group members, group jobs, or project design!  Take the concept of your project and think of different ways that students could represent the skills and knowledge that you’re after.  Because really, it’s not about a poster or a slideshow, it’s about showing what they know and what they can do with content — any way possible.

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