World Languages
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan
Middle School, High School
  • Filmmaking
  • Lesson Plan
  • Multilingual Learners
  • filmmaking
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Filmed Peer Spotlight Lesson Plan

    Filmed Peer Spotlight Lesson Plan


    This lesson plan promotes the use of written and spoken academic language by multilingual students. It is based on secondary standards. It uses filmmaking to bring writing and speaking together while focusing on academic langauge. 

    Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash


    Students will make a film about a fellow students which includes a live interview along with appropriate B-roll, images, and narration. Students will produce a script, story board, fiim an interview, edit, and share their film.

    Format: face-to-face

    Time frame: 2 to 4 weeks

    Author: Materials from UEN's Filmmaking in the Classroom 5990-372 Fall 2021, Instructor Katie Blunt

    Background for Teachers

    To teach this lesson, you will need an understanding of student filmmaking and English language acquisition.

    The following resources can help you teach this topic:

    English Language Acquisiton

    Complete Process

    Screen Writing and Storyboarding

    (Note: Be cautious about which scripts and storyboards you use with your students. Not all films are appropriate for students.)



    Open Licensed Media



    (Note: A large portion of these resource lists was provided by Rushton Hurley and Next Vista for Learning (Links to an external site.).)

    Credits and Citations



    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

    Step 1 Goals and Outcomes

    Learning Intentions: 

    • Students will be able to use Academic English language in their scripting and interviews.
      • ELD Standard 1: Language for Social and Instructional Purposes (ELD-SI)
      • ELD Standard 2: Language for Language Arts (ELD-LA)
      • ELD Standard 5: Language for Social Studies (ELD-SS)
      • Data: students will use Academic English langauge at or above their present levels in speaking and writing as recorded on their WIDA ACCESS 2.0 assessment.
    • Students will be able to script, storyboard, film, and edit a short spotlight film about a peer.
      • CCR Anchor Standards for 6-12 Writing
        • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
        • Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
        • Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
      • Students will be able to produce quality material throughout their project

    Success Criteria

    • Students will use Academic English language in their scripting and interviews that is at or about their WIDA levels in speaking and writing
    • Students will complete all steps in the process: script, storyboard, film, edit, credit sources in the short spotlight film about a peer
    • Students will go beyond completing each step, and will produce quality material throughout the project

    Step 2 - Planning Instruction

    Step 2 Planning Instruction

    Student Background Knowledge

    Prior to this lesson, students will need to have an understanding of their present level of English language proficiency in speaking and writing. They will also need to know how to conduct a formal interview. 

    Strategies for Diverse Learners

    Differentiation is acheived with tying the required academic language to the students present levels. As the different parts of the project are being worked on, the teacher can evaluate what is working for the students and make adjustments. The teacher may need to assign a mentor, conduct small group instruction, provide schaffolding, and apply appropriate expectations based on a student's language proficiency, technological abilities, and 504 or IEP considerations. 

    Step 3 - Instruction

    Step 3 Instruction

    Students will work in pairs to prepare a short filmed peer spotlight. They will work together, asking each other questions to find out about their history, family, likes, dislikes, and hobbies. They will then choose which information they would like to use in the narration, and which in the live interview. They will write the video narration and a series of questions for a formal interview using the WIDA Can Do Descriptors at their level and just beyond their level. They will each check each others narration and questions for academic language use. 

    Student will then script their videos, placing part of the narrative before the interview and part of it after the interview. They will create a storyboard illustrating what pictures will go with the narration, where the interview will take place (a particular place in class, on the soccer field, etc.), titles, music, and images.

    Students will film their interviews. They will then assemble images, and music to use in the film. They will edit the pieces that they have produced or found and create their film, including the narration and film credits. 

    A spotlight mini film festival will be held in class. Students will vote and give each film an 'award' for the best feature of their project (music, editing, use of academic language, interview, etc.). 

    Learning Activities

    I do:

    • Review WIDA Can Do Desriptors and Speaking and Writing Rubrics with the students in a Nearpod
    • Review the Filmed Peer Spotlight objectives, activities, and final project rubric
    • Show an example of a filmed interview: Diversity Among Collegues
    • Thoughtfully assign partners

    We do:

    • Dicuss what Academic language looks like in this context
    • Using the teacher as an example, and the class acting as the partner, go through asking questions and finding out information about the teacher. Decide what information to put before the interview, in the interview, and after the interview. 
    • Review image and music citations
    • Do a class challenge image hunt, including posting citations on a padlet
    • Do a class challenge music hunt, including posting citations on a padlet

    You do:

    • Students work with partners to find out information about each other
    • Students produce scripts and story boards, checking in with the teacher for feedback

    I do

    • Instruct lighting, sound, filmming, editing, titles, and credits

    We do

    • Explore the above elements for the video about the teacher by dividing students into four gorups (one for lighting, sound, filmming, and editing) to come up with suggestons based on the information about the teacher that they gathered.

    You do

    • Students film interviews
    • Students put all elements of their peer spotlight video together and check with teacher for feedback

    We do

    • Watch mini film festival

    Step 4 - Assessments

    Step 4 Assessments

     UEN Rubric Tool.

    As students are working through the process, they have a couple of checkins with the teacher who can at that time assess the work and give feedback. The teacher should also be circulating among the partnerships to listen and assess if the students need additional teaching or extension. 

    The script and story board are reviewed by the teacher as an assessment. The teacher can assess how the students are doing, give feedback, and additional instruction for those needing it. 

    The teacher should check in with the students at the draft stage of their video. This is an important time to evaluate individual student need and also needs that are coming up among several students. The teacher can offer individual help and support, and also craft mini lessons for concerns that many of the students have. 

    The final film project will be evaluated using this rubric