StudentCam - Teaching with StudentCam

Looking to engage students in StudentCam? Below are two options for you to consider:

  • Become a faculty adviser. You can assign this as a class project. This requires planning for class instruction, so you must decide if you will provide the time necessary for students to develop their documentaries in class or if you will provide guidance to students and monitor their progress as they work independently outside of class. If you wish to assign it as a class project, below you will find sample lessons and rubrics that teachers have successfully used. Faculty Advisers for Grand, First, Second or Third Prize, will also receive prize money. Details on cash prizes can be found on our Prizes page.
  • Teachers are not required to be listed as faculty advisers. The StudentCam competition can be introduced as a project to be completed outside of class or submitted independently of the classroom.
Looking for ideas on how to approach the project with your class, or a self-guided step-by-step process for your students? Check this Lesson:

Additional Tips for Incorporating StudentCam in Your Classroom

George Mayo, a video production teacher at Montgomery Blair High School in Maryland and successful Faculty Adviser in C-SPAN's StudentCam competition, has shared documents that he uses in his classes with his students, including accompanying testimony from past winning students on how the steps helped them to plan and prepare for the production of their documentaries.

We hope their shared experiences will prove helpful as you plan, shoot, and edit your own documentary.

01. Voter Guide

02. Research Outline

Additional Resources

Copyright-free Background Music Resources

Additional Documents

Fair Use Laws

Free Video Editing Software

How Long Will It Take To Make A Documentary?

Students should give themselves at least a few weeks to create their documentary. Below is a suggested time frame. Please keep in mind that many of these steps will overlap as students go through the process.

  • Topic Selection and Initial Research: (1 week)
  • Research and Scheduling Interviews: (2 weeks)
  • Conducting Interviews & Shooting B-Roll: (2 weeks)
  • Write your script: (1 week)
  • Build your Rough Cut: (1 week)
    - Edit interviews
    - Find & download relevant C-SPAN clips
    - Record Narration
    - Add in music, transitions, text and title slides and credits
  • Polish Final Film & Submit to StudentCam: (1 week)

Common Core State Standards in ELA

The video contest is closely aligned to the new Common Core State Standards in ELA. It meets the following Standards:
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.