Friday, March 20, 2009

Podcast #184 - Creating "Common Craft" Type Videos about Historical Terms for Class

Hello. This week we did a cool project in class - my students created short videos in the "Common Craft" style to describe a variety of historical terms and concepts we are currently studying. My students loved it and did a great job. I have included a couple of videos with this blog post below, the rest you can view at my You Tube channel.

I have included a couple of pictures of the set up we used to film the videos with a Flip camera. The podcast has more details on how we created the videos. If you have any questions or thoughts on this project please leave a comment on this blog post.
Thanks to Common Craft for the inspiration - we are all huge fans of your work!


  1. What a fantastic idea - I've had similar ideas and never followed through - now I want to! Thanks for sharing the student examples as well. I find it so much more powerful when teachers share the products, not just the ideas. From one techie historical teacher to another - thanks so much!

  2. Anonymous4:49 AM

    Great idea and now you've gone and inspired me, too. Using the flip makes sense, as I imagined doing it with Stopmotion animation. The flip would cut some corners.

  3. Hello Mr. Langhorst and class,

    Well done 8th graders!

    Your work will inspire other students and teachers to create their own Common Craft works.

    Mr. Langhorst, your audio podcast explained the process very well, thank you. I only have a few questions after hearing it.

    What ideas did you provide for your students about voice and pacing for recording their scripts? Did the students rehearse a few times before the final shoot? And was this a lengthy process with 25 groups?

    Thanks again...

  4. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Nice work Mr.Langhorst's class! Yaaay! Thanks for sharing this Eric. We are always excited to see teachers and students who are inspired by our work. I wish that I had teachers who introduced me to visual thinking and videos in 8th grade. Y

  5. Anonymous2:58 PM

    Thank you Mr. Langhorst. I plan on doing this project with my American history classes on the same topics mentioned. As a technology enthusiast who is always looking out for the next best thing I finally found an inspiring idea.

  6. Thanks to everyone who has commented on the project. We would especially like to thank Lee LeFever of Common Craft for looking at our work. We were very excited to see his comment.

    To answer a couple of questions from Kent : My students wrote their scripts first and then added the visuals next. I wanted them to have strong content and not think about the visual representation until their script was completed. The student did practice their presentations and it was really cool to see them working out the movements and timing of the visuals with the spoken word. We did record a total of 25 presentations but it was over 5 class periods. Each period had 5 presentations and it actually went pretty fast. The table and camera were set up, each group stepped up and did their presentation and then we moved to the next group. Only 1 or 2 groups needed a second take. In all of the classes except one we even watched all their presentations before the end of the period. Thanks for the questions. It is a project I would recomend to anyone.


  7. As a big fan I am completely ready to use this idea in my 8th grade history class. I teach both Computers and history and have had excellent results with using video editing in the history classroom. However, your idea is a great time saver since editing is really not necessary.
    Please keep on sharing these very creative ways to integrate technology.

  8. These are really great! I got to play with a Flip camera for a grad class and kept thinking there had a to be a reason to get one because I could use it with my kids - now I know exactly how! Great work - your kids are learning so much and they're having fun - what a concept!

  9. i love THIS idea!!! AWESOME!!! I would love for this to be my end of you activity. Maybe next year, but with limited technology . .. . AWESOME!

  10. This was an absolutely BRILLANT idea!!! Thanks for sharing it!

  11. Fantastic job class - well done! I plan on having my students give this same project a shot, I'll let you all know how it goes. Keep up the good work!

  12. Kudos to the 8th graders on a great job!

    Eric - you made a mention of a scoring guide that you used with this project. Would it be possible for you to share that with us as well? Thanks for the great idea!

  13. Anonymous6:56 PM

    how did you grade your students on this project?

  14. I've enthusiastically stolen this idea. Thank you very much! The boys in my World Wars class got a big kick out of this.

  15. I spent a portion of the Easter weekend getting caught up on podcasts I had missed. I am glad I did.

    Wow! Your students did a great great job on this, and you as their teacher did as well. I too am going to try this. Would you be willing to post (or email) the rubric you used? I am always interested in the breakdown other teachers use on projects like this between content, creativity, and other less tangible areas of assessment.


  16. Alesha7:37 PM


    Thank you for the excellent idea! I did this with my US History II students and the Declaration of Independence. They interpreted it so a 5th grader could understand. Once we were finished, they even presented their video to a group of local 5th graders and taught a lesson on "Unfair Treatment".

    My students learned not only content, but technology and reflection skills as well. Thank you again!