Showcase Lesson #3

Showcase Lesson Plan #3

Showcase Lesson #3 Reflection:

In this lesson, my high school Video Production class learned about Mini DV tapes and how to use them in our school’s camcorders. I applied Marzano, Pickering and Pollock’s (2001) strategy of “Cues and Questions” by using the author’s examples of questions from “Classroom Instruction That Works”. The questions brought students into a discussion as I held up a Mini DV tape and asked, “What is it? What action does this thing usually perform? How is this thing usually used? What is this thing part of?” (p. 115). I went on to ask students further questions about the tape to get students to think about its purpose. The students seemed to really enjoy answering the cue questions, especially because they were able to draw from what they already inferred about tapes. The students talked about the different qualities of tapes and connected them to film and other media, while also bringing up their similarities and differences. The students also discussed how they thought tapes actually worked and had pretty accurate guesses.  I followed Marzano, Pickering and Pollock’s (2001) advice when they state, “Waiting briefly before accepting responses from students has the effect of increasing the depth of the students’ answers” (p. 114). This motivated students to rely on their own knowledge and critical thinking to answer the cues. It was difficult for me to just stare at the high school students until they started raising their hands and it did create a nice awkward silence. This is something that I should probably get used to because the wait was definitely worth the student’s discussion that followed.

I also applied Marzano, Pickering and Pollock’s (2001) strategy of “Generating and Testing Hypotheses” (p. 104), and this worked but I think that it needs some polishing. In this activity I wanted to students to make guesses about what challenges they thought the Mini DV tapes would present. Many of the students understood what I was looking for them to do, but a large number of students were confused. In the future, I think that it might help to give students better instruction on what I am looking for and examples for them to follow when having the students create hypotheses. While exploring the use of “Generating and Testing Hypotheses”, I found that it was helpful to have the students explain their hypotheses to the class. This supported my reasoning for this activity as I took the idea from Marzano, Pickering and Pollock (2001) as they state, “…the process of explaining their thinking helps students deepen their understanding of the principles they are applying” (p.105).

In the following class where the students did the Mini DV camcorder activity, students did show that they had a good understanding of how to use the technology. After students digitized their footage, they did see the difference with shooting on tape, and even further understood the challenges that I was asking them to look for. The students were able to write these conclusions on their handouts, and I feel that the students now have a good grasp on how tapes have been used in the past and how we can still use them today.


Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom Instruction That Works.             Alexandria, VA: Association For Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Showcase Lesson #2

Showcase Lesson Plan #2


I began this high school Video Production class by applying Marzano, Pickering and Pollock’s (2001) strategy of “Summarizing and Note Taking” (p. 30). Since this was a new semester, I wanted to make sure that students understood how I wanted them to take notes in my class from here on out. I used a spin off a summarizing exercise that was an example from Marzano, Pickering and Pollock’s “Classroom Instruction That Works” where students had to select the most important parts of a paragraph (p. 31). This exercise was a bit bumpy at first but ended up being effective. Students did not fully understand how the summarizing activity applied to the class’ objectives, which is why it took extra time to get students going with this activity. The reason that I wanted to first give students practice in summarizing was because the cinematography presentation had a lot of notes for students to take and I wanted it to be done effectively. Marzano, Pickering and Pollock (2001) explain, “Verbatim note taking is, perhaps the least effective way to take notes” (p. 43). The summarizing activity ensured that students would not digress into just typing as quickly as they could word-for-word rather than really processing and digesting the information. However, it felt like I might have tried to fit too much into one class period. In the future, it would probably help to give better explanation for this exercise and possibly devote an entire class period to learning how to summarize.

Marzano, Pickering and Pollock’s strategy of “Identifying Similarities and Differences” enhanced my lesson because it encouraged students to process information together in a discussion. My approach aligned with Marzano, Pickering and Pollock’s (2001) first generalization where the authors state, “Presenting students with explicit guidance in identifying similarities and differences enhances students’ understanding of and ability to use knowledge.” (p. 15). Once students understood that I was going to give them guidance but not the answers, they engaged in an open discussion not only about how some of the cinematography examples were similar but also what made them different. Through this dialogue, students were able to recognize that the components that made the clips different were also what separated the good cinematography from bad cinematography, which helped students reach one of the objectives for the lesson.

The students’ discussion helped me assess their understanding of good cinematography, however, I later realized that this assessment did not give me thorough and in-depth data. After further thought, I also discerned that the summative assessment video project did indeed assess students’ understanding of quality cinematography but not soon enough. The students worked on their video projects for the next three days of class, and my feedback on their understanding of cinematography would have been helpful for them during this period. However, feedback was given to students after they finished their projects. For this reason, I think that it would work well in the future to ensure that my assessment of student understanding has a quick turnaround time in order to maximize student learning.

Finally, Marzano, Pickering and Pollock’s strategy of “Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition” worked very well with my class because this was a long period class where students were asked to be actively engaged for eighty minutes during the last period of the day. The students who put forth effort the entire time needed to know that it did not go unnoticed. Since this Video Production class is project driven, students already know that a portion of their grade will be effort and ability to stay on task. The authors (2001) explain that, “students can learn to change their beliefs to an emphasis on effort” (p. 50). This was a precedent that I had already laid down on earlier projects, and that is why it was beneficial to incorporate this into the lesson because it reminded students that they were still held to the same expectations. I could see a change in the student’s motivation when I verbally praised them for their involvement in the lesson’s activities. By the end of the lesson, I think that the students did learn the five basic shots and most of the students were beginning to understand the characteristics that make good cinematography.



Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom Instruction That Works.             Alexandria, VA: Association For Supervision and Curriculum Development.


Showcase Lesson #1

Showcase Lesson Plan #1


In this lesson, students learned how to import music as a soundtrack into Adobe’s video editing software, Premiere Elements, and they also began to comprehend the difference between good and bad video footage. I used Marzano’s strategies of “Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback” and “Cooperative Learning”.

The scaffolding approach that I used worked very well. While I presented the information verbally and visually through words in Powerpoint, students followed along in their “Editing Your Music Video” handouts. Students were then able to practice their newfound knowledge by using their notes on the handouts to complete the learning objective through their collaborative learning groups. Marzano’s strategy of “Setting Objectives” laid a strong foundation for the students to follow. Marzano’s strategy was not only helpful for students to be continually reminded of the goals that they were trying to reach, but also because the “Objective” required specific actions that they could easily comprehend. Consequently, I found that the act of setting goals in this lesson created a certain feeling of accomplishment when the goals had actually been met. By the end of class, when each group successfully imported music into their timeline, the students felt like they had each achieved something. There was a sense of pride and ownership in the air.

I realize that Marzano encourages readers to keep goals flexible, but I found this to be particularly difficult in the everyday goals of a technology class where students rely on step-by-step detailed instruction in order to find success with the software. Even still, I maintained flexible goals on a more heuristic scale for an entire project rather than for a single lesson. I was able to follow Marzano’s (2001) advice in my second goal when he states, “…students should be encouraged to adapt them (goals) to their personal needs and desires” (p. 95). When I introduced the section on “Good vs. Bad Shots” in the handout, students were excited to hear that they were meant to complete it by applying their own experience. In the discussion, students were able to express what their best shots were, and they were also able to articulate why.

Marzano’s strategy of providing “Feedback” to students was probably what went the best in this lesson. The check-ins that I had with each group proved to an important time to ensure that students were on the right track. Certain groups asked clarifying questions which enabled them to accomplish the class’s objectives. I also used Marzano’s (2001) strategy of “Student-Led Feedback” (101) through the “Clear vs. Unclear” section of the handout. This was very helpful because students were able to tell me what went well in the lesson, and also what they are still having trouble grasping. From reading the students’ feedback, I found that almost every student wrote that they understood how to import music into their timeline. The reoccurring clarity that students were asking for in the “Unclear” section was primarily how to edit their project once the music was in. The assessment also showed that while most students very much understood the step-by-step process that they needed to go through, they still comprehended larger technological concepts. The next lesson involved going over what students said was still unclear. Through this lesson, students were able to relearn the information and continue with their projects. I further applied Marzano’s strategy by giving written feedback on the students’ “Editing Your Music Video” handouts. This proved to be quite useful when I saw students’ responses as they used the feedback to improve the “Music Video Project” summative assessment. My written feedback encouraged students to better understand the content. Incorrect answers were not only marked incorrect, but students were also given written feedback to better explain to why the answer was incorrect and how they could continue to grow in this area. Students were redirected to the learning targets and encouraged to better utilize the “Clear and Unclear” feedback sections to express misunderstandings.

I applied Marzano’s strategy of “Cooperative Learning” which greatly enhanced my lesson because students were able to encourage each other towards achieving the learning targets. For the summative assessment, students were placed in “Formal” groups and I divided the tasks into the following videography positions: cinematographer, director, and editor. In previous lessons, we had already established the expectation that each member will continue to rotate each position. To build up to this showcase lesson, previous lessons included components of Marzano’s cooperative learning: “Positive interdependence, group processing, appropriate use of social skills, face-to-face promotive interaction and individual and group accountability” (p. 90). I used these guidelines to teach students what cooperative learning looks like, and was able to remind them of these standards in this showcase lesson. The main challenge of the group learning was that students had a difficulty staying on task. This is in large part because only one student can use the computer’s mouse and keyboard at a time. Through this experience, I learned that students collaborate well but get distracted very easily when working in groups with technology. To try to counteract this challenge, I had groups continue to rotate positions, so that everyone had a chance to be in charge of editing while the other members gave instructions. I firmly agree with Marzano’s (2001) suggestion concerning groups, “Cooperative groups should be kept rather small in size” (p. 88, 91). At this point, we do not have enough available computers to have smaller groups, but I now have reason to ask for more resources. The challenges of working with technology are definitely worth the outcome because it is so rewarding to see students use their gifts and creativity to make original works of digital art. This lesson displayed the student’s growing knowledge in videography and video editing, and was also a space for students to utilize their creativity while collaborating with other students.



Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom Instruction That Works.             Alexandria, VA: Association For Supervision and Curriculum Development.