Poem A Day:

Today, we are watching a lot of music videos! We are gearing up for the final project of the year! 

This is a wonderful music video and a wonderful song- it ties into the same themes (and visual motifs!) of the videos we have watched/literature we have read so far in this unit, and the video is a great example of visual storytelling.




For the final project this year, students will work in groups to make a music video that captures a main theme of American Born Chinese and incorporates Gene Luen Yang’s story-telling techniques.

  • They must choose a song or write an original song that conveys their chosen theme.
  • Their video must tell a three-pronged narrative that each convey one, central theme in their own way. These narratives should be simple, original, and capture their, unique experience of coming-of-age in New Milford 2017.
  • Their video must incorporate symbolism.

For the next several days in class, each mini lesson will focus on one aspect of the music video project, so that students can plan appropriately and create the best product possible.

Today we recalled the first episode of “Fresh of the Boat” we watched in the last class. We discussed how there were multiple plot lines that all conveyed one central theme of the episode. We connected this to the three-pronged plot structure of American Born Chinese.

Then we discussed ways to translate this same storytelling structure to a music video, with no spoken dialogue (other than the lyrics).

The answer: simplicity and symbolism. Use things that will be easy to record and capture, but that can represent bigger ideas.

We watched several videos and discussed the strategies the directors used including:

This video is cool and has some interesting techniques I think the kids could pull off.

This is not my favorite song, but the video is cool, and cmon! An Asian woman with a mask of paint slowly being removed- couldn’t find a better fit for this unit.

Active Engagement:

Students worked in their groups to choose a song, and begin planning their three narratives for their video. I conferenced with each group and offered feedback and guidance.

They used this planning sheet and this “storyboard” chart I made for them.



Students submitted a timeline for the rest of the year- a plan for completing the project and a list of materials they will need.


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