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Adaptor Grants Home:
Teachers Network: Adaptor Grants: Don’t Smoke or You Might Choke

Original Project by Original Project by:
Tobacco Information and Prevention Sources (TIPS)

Adapted By:
Allisyn Levy
PS 261, Brooklyn, NY
Principal: Zipporiah Mills

Allisyn teaches 3rd grade at PS 261 in Brooklyn, NY. This is her 10th year teaching. She loves integrating media literacy into her curriculum and working with students to create videos.


I used this website as a starting point for research on anti-smoking with my students. Because there is an overwhelming amount of information, my students learned to pick out interesting facts, put them in their own words, and create a simple presentation to share what they’ve learned using iMovie.

Instructional Objectives

Students will:

  • learn and apply basic research skills by exploring anti-smoking
  • become critical evaluators of websites
  • learn and apply basic public speaking skills to present their research
  • create a kid-friendly public service announcement (PSA) by using iMovie

Technology Integration

We infused this activity with technology. Students began by brainstorming current issues that effect kids. They agreed they wanted to focus on smoking. I introduced them to the idea of Public Service Announcements, and we watched some examples (http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/video/index.html). I used the Internet as a research resource in order to teach kids how to critically evaluate websites. We looked at both good and bad examples of quality websites, and discussed the characteristics of both (easy to navigate, clear, solid information, author, purpose, etc). Students learned how to take notes off of a website and put information in their own words. To present their research, students learned to use iMovie to create their own PSA. Finally, students were involved with preparations needed to project their movie onto our auditorium screen for a whole-school screening!


I based my assessments on student performance on both formal and informal evaluation tools. I observed levels of participation and effort. Each step of this activity was broken down and had tangible materials that I considered. For example, each student wrote their anti-smoking facts on index cards to create the script for the movie. Students had to speak loudly and clearly when filmed to communicate their fact. Finally, the PSA they created served as a valuable tool in assessing the project.

Tips for Teachers

My first piece of advice is to recruit some parent volunteers. When making movies, it is easier to divide your class into smaller groups. Parent volunteers are a tremendous asset and make this possible. For students with special needs, simply having them choose an interesting fact and copying it down is enough – the paraphrasing can come later. When making movies, I start by having students brainstorm all types of movies/videos/commercials, and then all the jobs they think are required to make a movie. This gives us a range of jobs so that every student is involved. Movie making is a great way to build teamwork, promote responsibility, and teach research and public speaking skills.

Student Work Samples

Click a thumbnail to see a full-screen or watch the student-produced Quicktime video.


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