Project Title: The National Epidemic of Senioritis: A 20/20 Investigative Report
Software Used: Internet, iMovie, Digital video camera
Subject and Grade Level: English 12
Standards: 12.1.1, 12.1.2, 12.1.6, 12.1.8, 12.2.1, 12.2.4, 12.2.5, 12.3.1, 12.3.2
Senioritis Project copy
Senioritis Graphic Done
Suggestions: I use this unit right after we do the senior research paper to remind students that they shouldn’t slack for the rest of the year. I try to have it be creative and moralistic without sounding too preachy. I also give them the option of writing a persuasive paper individually rather than going the group project, but my students usually choose the 20/20 news program.
Materials needed: Varies depending upon the plans the students develop, but students get the props and costumes. I help them with anything they can’t find, but most just plan around what they can find.
Lesson Plans/Directions: After we do the research paper, we discuss what the students want to accomplish for the rest of their senior year. Many times the students ask for “playtime” activities rather than goal related activities. I usually say something about them catching the Senioritis Bug. Students laugh until I tell them that it’s real and serious. I have them google Senioritis. They are surprised at how many articles are found on the problem. I have them look at the Time article that usually shows up towards the beginning – How to Combat Senioritis on http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1191831,00.html ; The seniors then read Searching for the Cure to Senioritis onhttp://districtadministration.ccsct.com//page.cfm?p=20 and answer the questions that are included in this example.
The second day I introduce the Senioritis 20/20 investigative report project (also on this example page). Students work in teams of four to create a news program. They must have an anchor, two reporters, and a cameraperson. Students may write interview questions for experts such as the principal, a teacher, or the superintendant; but they may also interview the community (their parents, grandparents, other students). They may also have some staged student examples (this year one of my seniors played LeRoy that lives by the river for an interview of someone that let Senioritis go to the extreme and it was very funny.) Students must include: at least 10 commercials, 1 expert interview, community interviews from three different generations to decide if the problem is really getting worse or not, and a section on ways to avoid the epidemic. Other than that, I pretty much let students use their own creativity. I insist that they write the interview questions for the expert and the three generations, but I don’t make them do the storyboard for the pretend interviews because I want to be surprised. I also have heavy deductions for inappropriate or questionable comments. Since they know that I’m pretty straight laced, I don’t usually have a problem with this factor.
I give them 8 school days for the pre-production, production, and post-production phases. Most taping is done after school or on the weekend so students can surprise each other, but I do let them take turns using the room next to mine for a quiet taping at least one day during the project. My students have all been exposed to iMovie at least twice before this so they usually do it with no problem. We spend a day viewing the iMovies that students created. (If I had a student choose a persuasive paper, I would have alternate assignment for that student that would take the same amount of time.)