I'm a big fan of Common Craft videos.

This is the third year I've done these videos as a mid-unit project with my 7th graders during their unit in Roman History and the project has evolved significantly over that time:

The first year I did the project, I was just happy to get through the project; there were a lot of elements to it and just juggling everything was something of a triumph. I discovered though, that given too much freedom in picking their topics, all 7th graders will turn their videos to the topic of stabbing someone. I made a note to myself to narrow the potential topics to stab-resistant subjects.

The following year (last December), I realized that my 7th graders need a lot more scaffolding than my 8th graders. Students' instructions need to be very explicit; they tend to do exactly what they are told - no more, no less. I was also frustrated by the old problem of group-work. Less motivated students would leave the diligent students to do most of the work, then share the same grade.

This year, I made it a point to write very, VERY detailed instructions. I wrote a rubric that graded the research and preparation parts of the project much more heavily than the actual movie, which had the double advantage of keeping students on track and being more fair, in terms of group-vrs.-individual work.

[Click below to download my project instructions and rubric.]

With thanks and appreciation to Lee LeFever and Eric Langhorst, here is this year's crop of "Common Craft" movies that my 7th graders made about Ancient Rome:

As always, your comments are welcomed.
The idea behind SpikeTV's "Deadliest Warrior" series is this: if two warriors from very different cultures and time periods, who would never, ever have met in real life, actually DID meet and didn't get along, who would win in a fight?

Yes, it's a silly premise. No, the show isn't terribly accurate. But Boy,Howdy; is it engaging for a restless group of 7th graders!

As part of our Roman History unit, we watched two episodes of this series: "Centurion vrs Rajput" and "Gladiator vrs Apache". Say what you will about the show (and frankly, you could find a lot of faults with it if you were cynical and jaded and had no childlike joy in your cold, stone-like heart), but it generated a lot of discussion in my students.

It also left them with a bunch of questions and comments for the producers of the show.

To whit:

Now, does anyone know how to contact the producers?