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Perhaps the answer is due to your definition of "Video" Workshop?

Did you know....

"The "Video" or "Theater/Cinema" Workshop was originally conceived of as an "Audio Visual" workshop in which videos were MADE as well as shown.

In some Rotation churches this was turned into "show a video" because that was easy to do, or because they saw the theater seats and name "Cinema" and assumed that "showing" was pretty much what you did."

--Neil MacQueen

For more on the A-V Workshop concept, read Neil's A-V Workshop manual.

What to do when the video is TOO SHORT?

Say you are writing a video workshop and the video chosen is short - ONLY A FEW minutes of video just doesn't cover all the time allotted! But you want to use this video because it teaches the sequence of story events. What can be done to fill out your workshop? (Besides discussion questions!)

The following ideas have been posted by members over the years. (Why not share your ideas!)

  • "Teaching with Video Guide" by Neil MacQueen
    Read Neil's handy-dandy free Video Workshop seminar notes. It has lots of ideas. .and you'll soon discover that having a "short" video can be a blessing! The A-V workshop isn't just for viewing, it can be for creating video.  The Manual has lots of tips for how to teach "after" the video, sometimes using the video again but in a creative way.  

      UPDATE: Neil revised and updated his manual for us here at

  • Play It Again Sam (No Sound - Kids Do Dialogue)
    Play the video a second time with the sound off. Have the students provide the dialogue as the action is replayed.  (suggestion by Creative Carol)

  • Journaling
    Deeper discussion questions, followed by having the kids draw a picture and write a short story about the movie in their journal.

  • Kids Creating their Own Video (recording it)
    After watching the short video - have a discussion about the sequence of the story - then have the children produce and direct their own short video about the story. (Even in the smallest of churches, there's probably someone that will let you borrow their camera or their phone!) You could even put a twist on it with the older children....have them recreate the story as though it were happening in our present day time. And of course....leave enough time for their "film debut" -- Watch the recording! Have them compare their work to the commercial video. Did they get the sequencing correct? Did they include the important parts of the story? Did they leave anything out?  (suggestion by Valerie)

  • Combine with another Short Workshop Activity (something other than video!)
    We've done a short science or games activity to accompany a short video. Anything that connects to the video and complements (but not repeats) what's going on in the other workshops.

  • Memory verse games
    Lots of different possibilities.

  • Crosswords or Word Search
    for Older Kids - you can custom make these on-line or through Crossword Studio to make them custom fit the video.  (suggestion by Chris18)

  • Movie Critics
    One thing we've done in situations like this is let the kids be "movie critics". Read together the passage from Scripture. On a white board write a column heading called "Bible." Ask kids for key words/thoughts and record them. By your guiding this you can help them lean toward the focus of the lesson.
    Tell them they're movie critics and as you show the video clip their job is to find things that are the same as the Bible version (what you've written) and the things that are different. Show the video clip, turn up the lights and make a new column on the board of things the same and different. If you have another clip, repeat comparing to the Bible version and the other clip. The kids like doing this.  (suggestion by Jan Napa)

  • Non-Religious Movie that Shares the Theme in a Life Application
    Where possible, find a non-religious movie that lifts up a theme from the story and show a clip from that as a "life application" for the lesson.
    Also a six minute video that repeats a sequence like this:
    1) watch 1 minute of clip
    2) read Bible passage related to it.
    3) discuss
    4) repeat...
    This can fill up a good part of the hour!

  • Computer Quiz
    If you have a church laptop which can connect to the overhead projector or TV - gives you the opportunity to use a computer quiz game to round out the lesson.  Example:  Cal & Marty Memory Verse from Sunday Software.

  • Illustrating Movie Scenes (or storyboards) 
    Use a roll of paper, decorated to look like a movie reel sprockets, to make scenes of the movie. Make a list of the sequence of events and each child (or partner) is responsible for illustrating one square.

  • Do TWO-Half-Hour Rotations
    If not every room is used every week you could do a half-hour movie rotation followed by a half-hour art, game, computer rotation. A good time to plan an art project that requires dry time, or a computer lesson that will take more than one period.  (suggestion by Lisa M.)

  • Draw Scenes on Overhead Transparencies
    Watch the clip then read the story.
    Then assign scenes and have kids draw their scene (maybe several kids working together on one scene) on overhead transparencies, as if they are going to be making a cartoon movie of it since one doesn't exist, and they're the storyboard artists. Then we'll project it with an overhead projector while each artist tells what's happening in their assigned scene.


What to do when NO video is available?

  • Make your Own Movie
    Have the kids be the actors and make the video themselves and then watch it. You could do 2 versions -- traditional and a contemporary twist!   (suggestion by Jan Napa)

  • Group Video (Computer) Game
    Another idea we've used successfully is what we call a "group video game". We don't have a computer lab and so use our movie theater.
    Example:  For the Good Samaritan we purchased Neil's Sunday Software "Good Sam" and for Advent we purchased his "Fluffy & God's Amazing Christmas Adventures". We projected them through a laptop and LCD projector. We have the kids work in teams (right side of the aisle and left side). The kids have really enjoyed it!   (suggestion by Jan Napa)

  • Book Series "Teaching with Videos" for Youth
    by Group Publishing.  Makes suggestions of older well known movies that can be used. (suggestion by Jan Napa)

  • Use several YouTube Videos. Before showing the clips, give the kids specific things to look for. And afterward do the following related activity related to the story (use an overhead projector and have the kids recreate the story scenes using silhouettes made from paper/cardstock.)  It worked really well.  (suggestion by Jaymie Derden)

What to do when the DVD BREAKS - TV QUITS - or Leader FORGETS to bring the video?

  • Always include: a lesson plan with "extras" (activities to do if there is extra time)!!!

  • If the DVD breaks (not the player) - Watch drama videos you have produced in that years previous Rotations.  (Sometimes we run out of time in drama, so it was good to "catch up" when "tragedy" struck).   (suggestion by Hilary Schroeder)

Add your ideas!  What have you done in these situations?


Last edited by Luanne Payne
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