Short video films can add impact to assemblies, provided that they are:
- correctly targeted at the age range of the children / young people;
- engagingly produced;
- short and to the point;
- wrapped around by teacher or assembly leader input.
There are a few technical aspects to consider:
- check the video and equipment beforehand to ensure that it all works correctly;
- if downloading, save the file if you can to avoid streaming video that could be interrupted by network congestion;
- adjust sound replay to ensure appropriate volume and clarity (remember that when the hall is full of children their bodies will absorb sound so be ready to adjust again during the assembly);
- adjust lighting – draw curtains, if necessary, to ensure that you get the clearest picture;
- check sightlines to make sure that all children can see clearly. This might involve changing your usual assembly seating pattern.
There are SEAL-based video assemblies, especially produced for this site. They feature Harry and Megan, two puppet characters who go on various adventures together. The short five- or six-minute films feature the story and a brief reflection which the assembly leader can expand upon.
Two series of five films were made. New Beginnings is currently available on DVD and be purchased here:
www.spckpublishing.co.uk/shop/harry-and-megan-dvd/ with support material available here: www.assemblies.org.uk/seal_dvd_notes.html
Series 2, Relationships, will be released on DVD at a later date – keep an eye on the www.assemblies.org.uk home page for details.
Both series are currently available from the Teacher's Dozen website where you will also find a wealth of short video material.
Why are the Harry and Megan videos no longer free to use?
Many teachers have valued using these resources which were offered as free downloads for three months each, and we have had a number of requests for this free service to continue. Unfortunately, the high cost of producing these professional-quality, location-based films mean that we can agree only a short-term licence with the production company. The DVD option provides a one-off payment solution, which makes the material available to your school year after year.
The BBC Class Clips selection provides a wide range of excellent resources, many of which can be adapted for use in assemblies – www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/
High-quality, assembly-specific audio, and increasingly video, content can be found at the BBC School Radio site. We will be offering resource material to support assembly stories from this site in the coming months - www.bbc.co.uk/schoolradio
YouTube and Vimeo
The World Wide Web is full of video material, particularly on the well-known YouTube and Vimeo websites:
The options here are virtually endless. You could use film of animals or forests for environmental themes; space and nature images to explore awe; technology clips to show how things changes so rapidly; or calming images and music for meditation and reflection – just a few of the many possibilities.
If you are using such material:
- check it through thoroughly for any inappropriate elements (often missed in the background but spotted by alert children);
- be aware that many of these videos contain copyright material such as music which is not cleared for such use;
- work out your wrap-around material in advance, perhaps stopping and starting the video and/or playing only parts of the clip (note timings beforehand) – you may need to get someone else to organise this while you lead the assembly.
Person Club resources include (Vimeo) videos for assemblies, supporting the primary SMSC curriculum.
o2.co.uk/parents - advice and guidance about child safety for Web content, downloads, and many other aspects of Internet and mobile phone use.