My Place in Pittsburgh

Description –

In this unit, students will compose a newspaper-style feature article and short video documentary about their favorite places in Pittsburgh (our hometown). By giving the freedom to pick their topics, student engagement is ensured. This project enhances narrative/expository writing and video editing skills. Students are required to complete a site visit and interview a member of their chosen location\’s staff. They also research their chosen locations online and through available texts.

Objective –

Throughout the experience, students will apply writing and video creation techniques including: VIDEO: -Filming interviews and B-roll footage -Splicing video clips -Creating a soundtrack and editing voice tracks -Integrating video transitions into a film WRITING: -Different types of leads (anecdote, metaphor, description, or statistic) -Integrating quotations -Writing with vivid details -Ending a piece of writing with a sense of resolution -Structuring body paragraphs

Materials –

*Current newspaper features from a variety of publications *Magazines that rely on features (Time, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, etc.) *A variety of video documentaries featured on PBS by Rick Seback and Ken Burns *Laptop computers *Word-processing software *Video Cameras (Flip Cameras, Camera phones with video, etc.) *Video editing software (iMovie or Windows Movie Maker) *Interviewing techniques handout and sample questions *Local newspaper journalists (if available)

Other Information –

This year, the My Place in Pittsburgh project will be used as the final for eighth grade students. The writing incorporates all of the skills that we will study through the year, namely those detailed in Ruth Culham\’s TRAITS OF WRITING, so it is an excellent summative assessment. Moreover, the video piece allows for creativity and student collaboration. The products are excellent and engaging. In the past, some of the pieces have been used as promotional materials for local businesses.

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