NF UNIT P2 Day 7

Day 7

Poem A Day:

For this unit, I am trying to find poetry and music that celebrates the individual’s mind, critical thought, and questioning “official truths”.  It gets the kids in the right zone to learn more about a topic of their choice and decide how to report their findings, in their own voice.


Today’s objective is: Students will identify successful components of nonfiction in various films in order to decide which components they may want to incorporate into their products. (wordy- I will work on that).

Today, students are going to watch a series of short nonfiction films and think about the decisions made by the producers of the videos. They will consider how they can use these moves in order to create a final product that will be informational, credible, and engaging.

I started the day by asking students to list types of nonfiction films. This is the list they came up with:




-Ted Talks


-Video blogs

I gave students this handout and described the activity we would be doing today (all of which is in the directions of the handout).



Active Engagement

I showed the following examples of nonfiction in film, and students recorded notes on their handouts for each video. I gave them a few minutes in between videos to jot their ideas, discuss with a partner, and share with the class. I also pointed out the great things I noticed, or criticisms I had.

Video 1

Things we liked about this video:

  • transitions
  • music
  • editing
  • writing

Video 2

Things we liked about this video:

  • appropriate music
  • Pathos- appeals to emotion

Kids were quick to catch spelling errors and editorial mistakes in this video- I reminded them that viewers of their products would also notice those things… EDIT EDIT EDIT.

Video 3

For this video, we discussed multiple perspectives being recognized, even though the pov of the creator was clear.Students also appreciated some of the more “artsy” shots and how the interviews were presented.

Video 4

Students learned from this video not to film scenes in places with a lot of background info- the video suffered as students could not understand the interviews.

Video 5

Students enjoyed this video the most so far. We talked about how there is a fine line between standing alone in a room and with your iphone and just talking endlessly into the camera. This is so engaging because of the cuts, the humor in the writing, the props, the rating criteria, etc.

Last, but not least, one of the most popular vloggers on the interwebs:

Video 6

Students filled out the handouts.


I had students get out their project handouts from the beginning of the unit. We reviewed the types of projects they could create. Then, I gave students a post-it. On it the wrote,

their name

their research topic

the type of project they want to make

For example,

Ms. Minto

Research topic: The creation of Camp Greyhound in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

Project: Ted Talk



NF UNIT P1 Day 6

Day 6

Related image

Poem A Day:

None- wasn’t feeling inspired… still can’t think of anything… AGAIN. (gotta say, I secretly love how much the kids want poems, and how disappointed they are when I don’t come up with one).


Today is another revision day. This time, the objective is: Students will revise drafts for structure and organization. Again we used this checklist. This time, students focused on the “Structure” section.

Again, they summarized in bullets on the left side of their checklists. And I distributed a second draft of my essay.  I made clear how my draft changed by highlighting everything I changed or added to develop my ideas more (as they were to do last class). We read it together and decided that it was poorly organized and lacked transitions.

Active Engagement:

Students got into pairs and I gave each pair scissors, a glue stick and blank paper. They had to decide how to reorganize my essay by literally cutting it up and pasting it in a new order. They also had markers to write in transition phrases.

The kids had fun with this one.

After the students were done (this took about 40 minutes) I revealed my third draft, and talked about why I chose to organize it the way I did. I also told them I would revise it a final time before I was done.


We reviewed this doc to recap the work students have done so far. Students were directed to revise their essays one final time paying attention to organization and structure. This was the end of the week and their final drafts were due Monday.