Here is an assignment that worked great for us a couple of weeks ago in my Broadcast I class.
Since the kids have not been trained on editing software yet--we were just four weeks into the year--I wanted to give them a chance to not just shoot sequences, sound bites, and such, but to shoot for a purpose. So in groups of four or five, I told them to shoot a story with a clear beginning, middle and end in mind. That is always a challenge early in the year for my sophomores. But this time, their footage would not just be for sharing in class as usual, where we review techniques and such.
Instead, the group that shot the best footage, and had all the elements for a good story, would see their finished product projected on screen in our next class period, as edited by...ME.
That was all the inducement they needed. They were now shooting with much more purpose, and with hopes of being the group chosen for an actual edited project, even if it was being edited by the teacher. (Maybe they were more motivated because it was being edited by the teacher)
I only gave them one hour to shoot. That was probably not long enough. Next year I will give them at least the full 90 minutes, or let them plan a day ahead, and then shoot.
Before I screened the winner, we had a very good discussion about why it was selected, what was missing from the other groups' efforts, and everyone really seemed to understand what they could have done better. That was even more obvious after they saw the "winning" footage as a completed project.
See the results at the link below of our first-ever "TEACHER EDITS" assignment. It tells a story, and yes, it's heavily "produced" by me, just for fun: