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5 Minute Civic Lit Story

Teach search literacy, current events and media literacy by challenging your students to create a 5 minute story using C-SPAN’s primary source video. Because C-SPAN video footage covers events without commentary, viewing this primary source video takes students beyond being consumers of edited news and commentary to appliers of critical thinking skills.  Students will become involved in their learning as  they view, select and share the important parts of a story.

Lesson Idea:
In teams, students search and select  5 one-minute segments of C-SPAN video via the C-SPAN Video Library to understand and tell the story of a current event.  

1. Students or teacher select a topic.  Students are challenged in teams of 5 to research and view the primary source video on C-SPAN, select 5 different videos that tell a piece of the story about their topic, and then select the most important (pertinent to telling the story) one-minute of each of the 5 videos (5 minutes total).  

2. Students use the share button under the longer video segment to set the in and out points of the one-minute segment of each of their chosen five video programs. Students either save the links to those video one-minute segments on a document by using the email/copy link or embed the one-minute video segment in a wiki or blog to share with the class.

(For embedding C-SPAN video on on a Google Site to be viewed on iPad or mobile devices click here)

3. Students play their five one-minute segments for the class by accessing or sharing their links on the document or wiki and explaining, in written form or in a class discussion, why their five one-minute selected clips explain the essence of the story.  By explaining why they selected that particular one-minute segment of the longer video as being the most important in segment will focus students on search literacy skills and critical thinking about news editing.

Sample Topics and Links
You’ll want your students to use current topics. These examples below show what kind of video programming your students can search for in the C-SPAN video library. Students are challenged to watch the whole program and then select out the shorter one-minute segments.

Japan Earthquake


Death of Osama bin Laden