Last week, Virginia Tech published Dear Professor ..., a short video that focused on three students thanking three teachers who had made a difference in their education. The video is set up as a surprise for the teachers, but rather than summarizing it, let me ask you to watch it:
It’s a nice tribute to the three teachers and to teachers in general; but once I reflected on it, I realized that it made a nice video assignment for a writing course. Students could mimic the video itself, inviting teachers in and surprising them with their letters.
Such an assignment could be complicated, however, if students would like to salute teachers who are not geographically near or able to meet with them for the surprise filming. I compiled this list of alternatives that would also work:
- Create a video letter to a teacher, reading the letter as the students in the Virginia Tech video do.
- Tell a favorite anecdote about a teacher in a digital storytelling project.
- Collaborate with other students to honor a teacher to create a video letter, each reading a different part of the letter.
- Film artifacts from the class and relevant to the teacher, with a voice-over explaining the significance.
- Compose a list of great things about a teacher (like a top ten list), and then film a video that presents the list.
- Describe the lessons a teacher taught you or the most important thing a teacher taught you in a video tribute.
- Interview students who were also taught by the teacher about how the teacher has influenced them.
- Create an endorsement or testimonial video that explains why someone should take a class with a particular teacher.
- Compose video diary entries that reflect on significant classroom experiences with a teacher.
- Create a video that defines why teachers matter, with examples from a specific teacher you want to honor.
In all the videos, students could film themselves with their phones, tablets, or computers or they could find images and piece still images together with a voiceover. After publishing the videos, students can send the honored teachers the links.
These thank-you videos can be used for many other scenarios, of course. With some slight changes, the list could be used to thank any significant person the student knows (like a family member or coach), to show appreciation for a coworker, or to honor graduating students.
Do you have suggestions for using video thank you messages? Want to share another video project? Let me know by leaving a comment below