Monday, January 20, 2014

Public Service Announcements

Hello, my name is Teresa Kwant and I am thrilled to be a part of this new blog! I teach 6th grade in an elementary school in Utah. Recently, I finished my technology endorsement through a program called eMINTS. The goal of eMINTS is to encourage inquiry-based learning, build cooperative learning, and create technology-rich learning environments. Here's a peek at what my classroom looks like:

We have all kinds of fun using technology on a daily basis!

Recently I decided to have my students create Public Service Announcements to spread some positive messages around our classroom and school community. It turned out to be a fun writing project as well. To engage the students and get them excited for the project, I first showed them commercials from [this] website. Some of my favorites are titled Imagine, Concert, The Greatest, Top Shelf, and Bus. Then we discussed as a class why these commercials impact people and in what ways they leave impressions. 

Next, with a partner, students brainstormed as many positive values as they could and created a [wordle].
Depending on the technology available to you, this may be done on your classroom computers, as a whole class creating a wordle on the teacher computer, during centers, or in the computer lab.
Once the wordle was completed it was time to get started on the writing. A Public Service Announcement (PSA) is an excellent example of persuasive writing (which fits right into the common core). This writing prompt was a great introduction for their paper:

After students had read the prompt, I passed out a graphic organizer and told the students that they had to choose one value they wanted to persuade our class and school community to follow. Why is it an important value? Why should anyone incorporate this value into their lives? They could refer back to ideas brainstormed in their wordle as needed. 

The next day we started writing a persuasive essay about the value of their choice. Once the rough draft was finished, students did a self and peer edit of their writing. Last, I had them publish their writing on this template page:

For the final project students were put into small groups of 4 or 5. They chose one of the values a team member had written on, and started creating a PSA. They were given a storyboard for thoughts and details to map out their ideas. Once a storyboard was finished, students practiced their PSA. When they finished practicing (which was a day or so later) students then recorded their PSA's (filming with iPODS) and uploaded them to the computers. I set up time slots for my students to film during recess so I could guide and monitor each group and so there wasn't any unnecessary background noise. My class used a program called Windows Live Movie Maker to create their work.When all the videos were completed we watched them together as a class. Unfortunately I can't post student samples, but they did PSA's on topics like "Caring," "sportsmanship," and "being a friend."

 If you do not have access to technology or computer labs often, try having students make skits and performing them in front of the class or designing a poster about their values to hang around the school.

This activity definitely added a closer community feel to our classroom and they enjoyed working together to make the videos. PSA's are a great way to get your students involved, no matter how big or small, in their community. Here is a link to my store with the PSA pages [here].

If you are interested in other CCSS writing units, check out my Writing by the Month Units in my TPT store [here].


  1. Wow! I am jealous of your classroom! You have a large classroom and all the computers...LOVE! I teach first graders and do wordles throughout the year and the kids enjoy creating them. Great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Sue, thank you for the compliments! I am happy to hear you do wordles too, they are fun :)

  3. What an involved project! Tackles so many skills! These are the kinds of things they will remember when they are older. As a first grade teacher, I can appreciate how you broke it down into steps for them. Love it!