Now that you and your students have enjoyed learning about Massachusetts through the timeline and news articles, we invite you and your class to contribute to this project and be a part of the resource itself!
You may have noticed a series of QR codes on the timeline. When scanned, each of these codes takes the reader to a video playlist for a segment of the timeline. It is our hope that teachers and students will create short videos about various events on the timeline (and beyond) to help us continue to provide a rich learning experience about Massachusetts.
We encourage teachers to use this project as a learning experience in their classrooms by having students select an event of local interest (or contribute a local event that is not featured on the timeline), conduct research about the event, and then produce a 1-2 minute video, ideally on location, that describes this event for viewers.
By engaging in this project, students will be able to take a deeper dive into the history of their community, practice historical thinking by conducting research, and communicate their conclusions in a public forum.
Suggested Learning Plan
- Begin the activity by asking students to brainstorm what they know about their community’s history. Any key events? Significant places? Famous people?
- Next, have students decide on a key event to investigate. Frame this investigation with the following guiding questions:
- What is the event and what took place?
- Why was it important for our community?
- Why should people in Massachusetts want to know more about it?
- With assistance, students should conduct secondary research to answer each of these questions. If possible, we recommend that teachers link up with school library/media specialists, local historical societies, etc., to provide students with a rich research experience.
Note: Teachers should make sure that videos take an inclusive and sensitive approach when dealing with issues regarding traditionally marginalized voices. For more support/guidance, consider reviewing Guiding Principle 2 in the 2018 MA History & Social Science Framework.
- Once the research has been conducted and students have outlined answers to the guiding questions, students should write a script for the video (which will be helpful later in the process for creating closed captions). This will help you map out the list of shots needed and assist with the closed captioning process. When writing, consider any visuals that you may wish to include through editing (optional) – what will those be, and when will they be seen?
- Have students produce the video. Videos can be one-take or edited in a software program. While we encourage students and teachers to get creative and really invest in the production, the main goal of this project is to help students foster a personal connection to their local history. That said, here are a few tips for creating your videos:
- Be original, do not use copyright protected material like photos, video clips and music unless you have written permission or license to use. Be creative and draw your own pictures, record your own video footage as well as take your own photos.
- Do your recording/shooting with your camera in the horizontal position (long way across also known as landscape).
- Be mindful of lighting and shadows. You want good lighting on your talent. Avoid putting them in front of a large light source like a window. This usually casts them into an unflattering silhouette.
- Always test your equipment. Verify that your audio is clean and crisp.
- Use a tripod whenever possible and properly frame your subject. Look to all 4 corners and sides as well as everything in between. (Think about what looks good in the movies, TV and YouTube.)
- Do not hesitate to record your video more than once. Do not be surprised by how long it takes to get a recording that you like.
- Finally, it is always helpful to have a roadmap… a script. This will provide you with a sense of direction and keep you on the path to success.
- When completed, do not delete your copy or raw material until all videos have been posted to Mass. Chronicles.
- A student “reporter” presenting the video in a news/documentary/interview style.
- A narrative approach with pictures, drawings and/or video for the visuals. (You could read from the script those portions that are covered by visuals.)
- A classroom setting with students and teacher presenting or responding to questions.
- Be creative, just make sure your information is understood.
- Upon completing the videos, consider having a mini film festival in class to celebrate and view the final products. Ask students to reflect on their learning:
- What was most exciting about this project?
- What was the most challenging? How did you work through it?
- What is one thing you learned that really changed your thinking?
- How has this project changed the way you think about history and your community?
- Lastly, please share! See below for details on how to submit your videos.
- Note: We ask that teachers be aware of individual school policies regarding privacy and strongly encourage teachers to seek parental approval prior to uploading videos.