StudentCam in the ClassroomC-SPAN Senior Fellow Tracey Van Dusen of Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, MI discusses how she incorporates the StudentCam documentary competition into her classroom. Tracey includes video testimonials and suggestions from her students.
From graded instruction with allotted class time for your students to work on the project, to simply suggesting it as an extracurricular assignment, StudentCam is a great way to get your students critically thinking about issues that are important to them and their community.
Additional Examples of StudentCam Handouts & Rubrics
Social Studies teacher
Basalt High School
Social Studies teacher
Springville-Griffith Middle School
Incorporating StudentCam In Your ClassroomSelect Your Issue:
“Message to the President”
What’s the most important issue the president should consider in 2013?
Instruction Time Frame:
- OPTION 1
Become an active faculty advisor for StudentCam. This requires planning for several days of class instruction. Educators must decide if they will provide the time necessary for students to develop their documentaries in class or if they will provide guidance to students and monitor their progress as they work independently on their projects outside of class.
Educators are not required to be active faculty advisors. In this case, fewer days of class instruction are necessary. The StudentCam competition can be introduced as a project to be completed outside of class as an assignment or submitted independent of the classroom.
Objectives: The student will be able to;
1. Identify C-SPAN’s StudentCam competition and the requirements/goals of StudentCam.
2. Identify and critically analyze current issues of national significance.
3. Distinguish the difference between a documentary and a movie.
4. Demonstrate the use of varying viewpoints in a documentary and distinguish the difference between objective and bias reporting.
5. Create a five to eight minute documentary, synthesizing their analysis of their chosen topic.
Materials and Equipment:
1. Computer(s) with internet access
2. Newspapers, magazines and/or other online or print resources for research on a topic of national interest
3. LCD projector, computer monitor, SMART board (recommended to show examples)
4. A handheld video camera or other video recording device
5. Telephone and/or email access to set-up interviews
6. Video editing software or a video camera with editing capability
7. Video recording device if students decide to tape a C-SPAN program off of the television to use in their documentary
8. Completed online entry form
- Before introducing StudentCam to your students, obtain a video camera and record several students and/or school personnel answering the following question: “Which is the most important issue the president should consider in 2013, and why?" Save these videos for a future lesson.
- Ask students to brainstorm a list of issues that they may like to create a documentary about, first individually and then as a class. Create a class chart based on students’ responses.
Instructional Time (1-2 class periods of traditional scheduling or ½ - 1 class period of block scheduling):
- Refer to the chart from the previous session to activate thinking. Show the previously filmed videos of students and/or school personnel sharing their interest in the various issues.
- Have students share their ideas on one of the videos they found most interesting.
- Ask students if they have ever seen a documentary. If so, which one(s)? Show approximately five minutes of a documentary. After watching the clip, discuss the differences between a documentary and a movie.
- Introduce your students to C-SPAN’s StudentCam competition by accessing the home page, www.studentcam.org. Briefly explain how they can win prizes by creating a documentary that reflects this year’s theme. (NOTE: If your students are not familiar with C-SPAN, you may want to explain C-SPAN, its mission, and how C-SPAN is different from other cable television networks). Choose a few winning documentaries from StudentCam 2012 to view with your class.
- Discuss various elements of each documentary. What did the student(s) do well? How could it have been improved?
- Explain the layout of StudentCam’s website and review the sections titled, FAQ’s, Rules, Prizes, and Getting Started.
- Is this to be an in-class or at-home project? Explain the parameters of the competition to students with regards to how much time and support will be given in school.
- For homework, have students think about a possible topic for their documentary. Require students to create a list of potential resources and possible interviewees. Have students search C-SPAN’s website for video that pertains to the issue that they might like to research for their documentary. (Students must have C-SPAN video in their documentary to be considered for a prize.)
- Researching issue
- Contacting and interviewing participants
- Writing documentary script or outlining a documentary’s storyboard
- Filming and editing the documentary
- C-SPAN awards 75 winners.
- Individual instructors can choose to make the competition a class assignment and grade accordingly using a rubric, or the competition can be assigned as extra credit.
- Students can research the issue and explain how public sentiment towards the issue has changed over time.
- Students can complete a topic paper prior to filming their documentary. The paper should explore different aspects of their selected topic and include proper citations. As a result, students will develop in depth knowledge of their topic prior to beginning their projects, which will likely result in better documentaries.
- Social Studies
- Media Literacy
III. How does the government established by the Constitution embody the purposes, values, and principles of American democracy?
E. How does the American political system provide for choice and opportunities for participation?
2. Public opinion and behavior of the electorate. Students should be able to evaluate, take, and defend positions about the role of public opinion in American politics.
4. Political parties, campaigns, and elections. Students should be able to evaluate, take, and defend positions about the roles of political parties, campaigns, and elections in American politics.
PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT:
I. What are Civic Life, Politics, and Government?
C. What are the nature and purposes of constitutions?
II. What are the foundations of the American Political System?
C. What is American political culture?
1. American national identity and political culture. Students should be able to explain the importance of shared political and civic beliefs and values to the maintenance of constitutional democracy in an increasingly diverse American society.
2. Character of American political conflict. Students should be able to describe the character of American political conflict and explain factors that usually tend to prevent it or lower its intensity.
D. What values and principles are basic to American constitutional democracy?
4. Conflicts among values and principles in American political and social life. Students should be able to evaluate, take, and defend positions on issues in which fundamental values and principles and may be in conflict.
5. Disparities between ideals and reality in American political and social life. Students should be able to evaluate, take and defend positions about issues concerning the disparities between American ideals and realities.
ISTE’s National Educational Technology Standards (2007)
1. Creativity and Innovation
2. Communication and Collaboration
3. Research and Information Fluency
4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
5. Digital Citizenship
6. Technology Operations and Concepts
National Standards for English Language Arts (from www.ncte.org/about/over/standards/110846.htm):
1. Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
2. Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).