Roll the Tape!

6, 7, 8

The purpose of this lesson is for the students to produce a video presentation. The video demonstrates the characteristics of the middle school with the purpose of informing students of what to expect when they come to middle school. It will be presented to the fifth graders who are moving to the middle school in the coming year.

PrintTen to Fourteen Fifty-Minute Class Periods

The learners will:

  • determine important and special aspects of the school.
  • acquire skills in video taping.
  • interview teachers and students.
  • cooperate with other students in small groups.
  • create a video about the school.
  • edit video footage.
  • write a script to go along with the video.
  • present the video to a group of younger students.
  • video cameras (may be on phones)
  • digital video editing software
  • Generated list from Lesson One: My Part in the School Community of important or unique things about our school
  • Responsibility Sheet (Handout One)
  • Footage Rubric (Handout Two)
  • Script Rubric (Handout Three)
  • Small-Group Finished-Project Rubric (Handout Four)
  • Parent-Release Form for students to be photographed or video taped (Handout Five)
  • Newsprint


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Review the generated list from Lesson One: My Part in the School Community of important or unique things to know about their school. Ask if there is anything that they would like to add to the list.

  2. As a class, come up with a theme or title that will drive the format of the video. Keep in mind that the length of the video should be 10 minutes or less. Ideas: Walking Through a Day at (your school’s name); The Top Ten Things to Know about Your School; What People Are Saying about Your School. Once the theme has been decided, divide the class into groups of three-four students. Assign each group a sub-topic or two (sub-topics will come from the list of important or unique things about the school such as lunchtime, teachers, principal, classes, first day, etc.).

  3. Give each group a digital video camera to work with and a videotape with their group number or name written on it. Each group should always keep the same tape throughout to avoid confusion and loss of footage.

  4. The small groups work cooperatively to plan their section of the movie, obtain the video footage, complete the editing, write the script and so on. Therefore, it is important that some thought is put into how the groups are formed.

  5. Each group discusses its plan for their section of the movie. They need to know how many minutes they will have in all. They should plan exactly what scenes they will tape and who in the group will be responsible for taping and interviewing. All students should have equal responsibilities. The Responsibility Sheet. (Handout One) is a planning sheet for this stage. Interviews should be set up in advance and accommodate the schedules of those involved.

  6. Teacher note: Before the students begin video-taping, teach the basic skills of how to use a digital video camera, how to interview, how to make a good recording and what is appropriate behavior while recording and working. (All students appearing in the video must have a Parent-Release Form on file (see Handout Five).

  7. Teacher note: It is recommended that an e-mail or notice be sent to all staff to inform them of the video project. In this note it is also helpful to ask staff to notify you, the teacher, if they see any inappropriate behavior.

  8. As students complete the project and collect their footage, they use the Footage Rubric as a guide (Handout Two). The teacher also uses this rubric for grading the footage and work of each group.

  9. Teach the students the basics of iMovieâ or other software for editing. This may take a whole class period. Show them how to download their video footage and start work on editing.

  10. It is best to use one computer and have the groups come up in shifts to download and edit. While one group is editing footage, the others may be writing their scripts, collecting more video footage or completing other class work. Students may use the Script Rubric (Handout Three) as a guide for writing scripts. The teacher will use the rubric for grading the scripts.

  11. Since this project takes several days, it is helpful to take an informal assessment halfway through the project. Have all the students write how they feel everything is going in their groups. Direct the students to write their feelings on their group’s progress and participation of all of the group members. Keep this information confidential so students will be honest. Help the students solve any issues before the project continues further.

  12. When all of the editing has been completed, the teacher should check to make sure that it looks good and that it isn’t too long (total length about 10 minutes). There is a tendency of students to keep too much footage so they may need guidance in this area.

  13. All of the scripts should be collected and graded by the teacher using the Script Rubric (Handout Three). It is important to make sure that there isn’t any overlapping of information between groups and that the script lines up with the footage.

  14. As the students complete their final editing, they use the Small-Group Finished-Product Rubric (Handout Four) as a guide. The teacher also grades using the criteria on this rubric.

  15. The teacher puts the work of all the groups into one seamless movie.

  16. Once the entire video has been put together, it is time to add the script as a sound track. The class can either pick a student to read the script or the teacher may choose a student. Then the chosen speaker will read the script into the video through the microphone.

  17. After completing the video, watch the completed video with the whole class. This is very exciting for them. They are now ready to take their video to the fifth-grade classes.


The assessments will be done using the rubrics (Handouts One-Four: Responsibility Sheet, Footage Rubric, Script Rubric, and Small-Group Finished-Product Rubric). Additionally, the teacher should observe the level of cooperation in each group.

Cross Curriculum 

Students present their video to a group of fifth grade students who will be entering the middle school in the fall.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
      3. Benchmark MS.3 Describe the task and the student role.
      4. Benchmark MS.4 Demonstrate the skills needed for the successful performance of the volunteer job.