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Step 1: Framing the Assignment

Written by Paul Bogush
January 09, 2013

I wanted to open the unit by emphasizing the skills that we would be working on rather than the technology itself. I am a firm believer that teachers should never slap technology onto a unit without purpose.  If the unit does not need it, then it is probably best to leave it out. Teachers really have to start off by asking ourselves, Why?  Why is this tool or method necessary for the success of this unit? So I wanted to begin my unit by answering that for the students. Here is the opening of my assignment handout: 

Get to the point… A great story teller once told me that you should never tell the audience the “point” of your story. Youshould let them figure it out and whatever they interpret as the “point” is correct. She said that is is ok tolet an audience walk away with multiple interpretations of a story. Hogwash… Sometimes you need to “Get to the Point” and this project is one of those times. Here is your problem…you need to tell the story of the Louisiana Purchase and at the end of the story itneeds to have a crystal clear point. Nobody viewing the story should miss the point. A three year oldlistening to your story while jumping on a pogo stick should be able to get your point. Get my point? We will do these stories in a style made famous by RSA Animate.
(Full PDF at bottom of page)

After discussing the assignment, we watched several RSA Animate videos to get a feel for them. We watched those linked to the first page of this resource as well as some student samples. We noticed how they were made and the clarity with which they focus on ‘getting to the point.’

I’ll admit that at this point it was still hard to figure out how we were going to go from information in a textbook to an RSA Animate style video.  I was very honest with my students that I had needed to learn to make these videos too and that we would figure out how to do it all together because there was no template out there for us to follow. But clearly the next step would need to involve reading the material and planning out the content.

Open RSA Animate assignment-Louisiana-Purchase.pdf