The core English Language Arts skills students are expected to master each year include reading, writing, speaking and listening. When watching videos, like the ones created by Channel One News, students should be held accountable for demonstrating their understanding of the information presented in each clip.

One activity that can help students practice how to become better listeners is to take on the role of a video guide. By creating the video guides themselves, students will employ higher order thinking skills in order to demonstrate their understanding of what they’ve watched.

Students will need to evaluate content to pull out the important information as they summarize, write questions and identify key vocabulary. These core components will be part of the video guide they create and share with classmates. A student can choose a video for himself or teachers can assign groups of students to watch a particular video and create a guide collaboratively.

Getting Started

For this activity you may ask students to watch a video as a whole class, individually or in partners. Students should watch the video with clear guidelines of the activity in mind. Sharing an example video guide, a rubric or checklist will help students better understand your expectations.


Ask students to create a summary of the video as the first section of their guide. This summary should include the main topic of the video and information on the who, what, when and where covered in the clip. Limit students to two or three sentence summaries to make sure this section of their video guide is concise.

Develop Questions

After the summary, students should construct three to five questions that can be used to check for understanding and for discussion. These questions should focus in on key details, angles or opinions presented in the video clip. Encourage students to write a combination of questions with clear answers and questions that are open ended.

Identify Vocabulary

In every video there are key vocabulary words that will help a listener better understand the content presented in the clip. The number of key vocabulary words will vary depending on the video but you may set certain expectations for the guide. In addition to writing a definition for the vocabulary word, ask students to place the vocabulary word in context by writing a sentence with that word used appropriately.

The video guides students create will help them better understand the content presented in a video clip and produce a shareable piece of work that can be shared with classmates. It provides an opportunity for students to reflect on the content they’ve watched and teachers the chance to check student understanding.

What type of video-based activities have your students participated in? Share in the comments below.

Dancing Our Way to Mars

One of the most important parts of ever setting foot on the Red Planet is having a spacesuit on. Without it your blood would boil and you would be exposed to lethal radiation. Let’s just say it wouldn’t be a good thing!

This spacesuit is a mock-up or concept of a potential future suit. Like Pascal said, it is a wearable spacecraft equip with computers and a life support system. The current space suit weighs around 300 pounds. On Mars with 38% gravity it will have a felt weight of about 114 pounds. That is a lot to carry around especially for astronauts trying to do research on the Martian surface. It is pretty much like carrying a person on your back. The goal is to get that weight down to something much more manageable.

On Devon Island scientists are analyzing new ways to make this possible but it looks like it is expected to take some time to accomplish.

After a day of hard work, Pascal Lee and I decided to have a little Devon Island dance off!

Getting Around “Mars on Earth”

On Devon Island one of the best modes of transportation is an ATV also known as a four wheeler. Researchers use ATVs to move from location to location as they conduct tests on the Martian like landscape. Over the last nearly 2 decades HMP researchers have carved paths around and within the Haughton Impact Crater but still many of the areas where research is being done is still quite inaccessible. That’s why these things are essential!

Astronauts on Mars may actually use something similar to what we know as an ATV to traverse the Mars landscape.

I decided to take this one for a spin in a space suit. The video is in double speed making it look faster. Believe it or not, there are speed limits on Devon.

Mars on Earth Video Journal Day 1

I arrived at Devon Island today with a small crew including Pascal, Kira, Brian, and Karen. We spent most of the day setting up camp and getting ready for upcoming research. We were lucky to get in because a fog came sweeping through after we arrived. It was creepy and looked like something out of a scary movie. You can actually see some of the fog and just how mysterious it looks in this video clip.

Mars on Earth Video Journal Day 2

Today I traveled on ATV with Brian and Karen as they conducted research on this Martian like landscape. During a short mission like this there is no running water at camp so my daily task was to collect fresh water from this spring and bring back about 20 gallons to camp each day.

Mars on Earth Video Journal Day 3

Today is the day we originally were supposed to make our way back home….but….no flights are available for a couple days. I guess we will rough it and do more research here with our extra time. I am still getting used to not having heat in this freezing environment. Also, the sun doesn’t set this far north in the August so I am still adjusting to 24 hours of daylight! It’s better than 24 hours of total darkness! I am also really getting to spend a lot of time with the crew and getting to hear some pretty in depth science talks….some of it goes right over my head. Hey…I am a news reporter not a scientist! They are great people and really make the trip a lot of fun!

Mars on Earth Video Journal Day 4

It is always fun pretending you’re a real astronaut especially when you are on Mars on Earth! Today I got to try on an early version of space suit. It wasn’t the most comfortable but it looked pretty cool!

Mars on Earth Video Journal Day 5

After 5 days on this cold, windy, barren landscape we finally receive word over satellite phone that our plane is coming tomorrow. We break down camp and prepare for our departure the next day. It is pretty warm here today compared to most days.

I am thankful to have this experience and to have shared this time with my four new friends. See you soon!