This series of PSAs was created by two third grade classes working in small groups which researched, storyboarded and scripted their pieces working with their teachers, Ms. Cutler & Ms. Kirksey, and me. Once the shooting scripts were ready, the teachers recruited some bigwigs from the New York entertainment community (who also happen to be 3rd grade parents at The Anderson School*) to collaborate on the productions. Students directed the productions, made decisions about shooting, collaborated on editing, and in one case filmed a documentary that I edited with them. The products are pretty powerful. Check them out, starting with "The Documentary Group", then see the summary of the process by Ms. Cutler, and production notes from our early discussion of PSAs.
* I have worked at The Anderson School, PS 334 a gifted and talented public magnet school in Manhattan as a consultant for Digital School Solutions for the past 3 years.
Summary by Ms. Cutler, 3rd grade teacher at PS 334
The PSA project was a new initiative this year. The goal was to integrate technology and service into our social studies curriculum. The unit explored millennium issues in Africa. Students brainstormed ideas about problems they saw in the world and came up with four major categories: Health, Poverty, Water Pollution and Education. We learned about the role of a PSA as a platform for bringing attention to our issues, and a fifth group's job was to document the process of producing a PSA.
Each group did research on the topic of their choosing and found statistics that were striking and would affect change in an audience. Next students came up with PSA concepts that applied to their topics after viewing several examples. During the filming and music process students were lucky enough to work with professionals in the fields of music and film.
The PSA project served as the perfect platform to hook students in to the continent of Africa as we launched our study of various regions of the continent.
Production Notes from our Introductory Lessons on public service announcements
As an introduction to the unit, students watched the following examples of PSAs, and talked about what combination of media (video, images, sounds, voices, music, etc.) the video directors used to create a tone that would 1) teach us about a problem, and 2) move us to take a specific action to help solve it.
Examples of PSAs:
- Charity: Water (starring Jennifer Connely)
- Clean up; We care about New York (by David Lynch)
- YOU! a PSA on Global Warming (by 4th graders at PS 124 in Brooklyn)
- Super Battery Fairy, a PSA by 4th graders at PS 124 in Brooklyn
- The Making of Super Battery Fairy
Resources for Teachers:
- Download a blank image for taking notes (created using free program: Skitch)
- Production notes, a rubric and more information from PS 124's YOU! PSA production
- Find Fair Use images on Creative Commons Search
Class Discussion Notes:
We used the organizer below on the Smartboard to collect notes that students added to their writers' notebooks.
Our Process for Producing Class PSAs
- Define the problem/solution
- Deconstruct examples of PSAs to understand choices (media & tone)
- Decide as a class what you want to say (tone, outline of content, and beginning middle end, and establish production groups)
- Write script(s)
- Adapt scripts into storyboards
- Collect the media (I will help you collect video, audio, etc in small groups)
- Edit (In small groups collaborating with Rhys, Ms. Culter, and parents)