Grade: All Ages
Subject: Social Emotional Learning

Essential Question

How do you use editing to create a final media product?


In this lesson, students will take the raw footage they created during the Life Songs Interview and transform it into a final product to be seen and/or heard by the public. Students will edit their raw footage and, optionally, add additional elements to create their “final edit.”

In the final lesson in the Life Songs unit, students watch instructional videos created by TeachRock’s media editor to gain an understanding of the post-production process. Students learn about the goals and strategies of video and audio editing, and then use those strategies on their own Life Songs project. Optionally, students then learn how to add “B-Roll” or other elements to enrich their LifeSongs project. By the end of the class, students will have a completed Life Songs project, ready to be screened or published.

This lesson is split into three parts, each of which may require a class period to cover.

What is Life Songs?

Life Songs is an intergenerational media project organized into a four lesson unit plan. Over the course of the unit, students participate in a group singalong, identify and discuss their favorite songs, prepare interview questions about another person’s favorite songs, and conduct and record an interview with an adult who shares how certain songs shaped their life. The unit culminates in students presenting a completed version of their Life Songs Interview. Through Life Songs, students acquire beneficial skills and experience in media production while participating in social and emotional learning activities.

View More


  • Know (knowledge):
    • The concept of post-production, and what the process entails
    • The tasks and responsibilities of an editor
    • Basic operations in video and audio editing software
  • Mastery Objective:
    • Students will be able to transform the raw footage from their Life Songs interview into a final version by using video and audio editing software.


Motivational Activity:A series of steps that read: Media Production Process Outline Step 1: Pre-production - Organizing in preparation for creating audio or video. Examples: creating scripts or storyboards, finding locations to shoot, getting the required equipment, hiring people to help. Step 2: Production - Creating the “raw footage” for the project. Examples: setting up equipment, recording audio or video, creating animation, coding. Step 3: Post-production - Arranging and preparing the “raw footage” to be seen by the public. Examples: editing, playtesting, uploading, publishing final product.

  1. Show Image 1, Production Process Outline, and ask students what step they believe they are currently on in their Life Songs project.
  2. Congratulate students for being at the final stage of the production process, and explain that most of what they will be doing at this point is editing.
  3. Explain to students that throughout the lesson they will be watching videos about post-production and editing by TeachRock’s own editor. Play Clip 1, What is Editing? Then ask students:
    • How is video editing defined in the video?
    • According to the video, why is editing important?


  1. Explain to students that they will now all be acting as editors for their Life Songs Projects. First, they will make a rough cut of their interview from the raw footage. If there is time, they will also be including additional elements into their media project, such as pictures, songs, and/or videos. (Note: in lesson 3, students should have already determined if they will make an audio or video project. Teachers should adjust the below steps according to the type of project students have chosen.)

Part 1: Creating a Rough Cut

  1. Inform students that the first step to finalizing their Life Songs project is to make edits to it. Play Clip 2, An Introduction to Editing. Then ask students:
    • What does the editing process consist of? What is happening in this video?
    • What kinds of things are being deleted or “edited out” of the video? Why are they being removed?
    • What is the benefit of removing parts of the raw footage? Why not just keep everything in?
  2. Pass out Handout – Editing Notes: Trims and Cuts to each student. Tell the class that the first step to creating their final Life Songs project is to make a “rough cut.” Like a rough draft, a rough cut will be the first version of their final project. Ask students to watch their raw footage and make notes on Handout – Editing Notes: Trims and Cuts. Instruct students to write the time when each cut begins and ends in the right columns, and the reason the cut is being made in the left column. 
  3. After they have completed their notes, ask students to move to an editing device (likely a computer or ipad). Instruct them to create a folder that will hold all of their files (or create the folder for them before class,) and upload the video/sound files from the device they used to record the interview to the computer.
  4. Using a video or audio editing program, assist students with editing their footage in accordance with the notes they took from Handout – Editing Notes: Trims and Cuts. TeachRock recommends either using the audio editing software Audacity and the video editing software Windows Video Editor or Apple iMovie. See the below tutorials to learn how to use these programs for this lesson:
  5. At this point, the Life Songs project can be considered completed as an edited audio track or video. However, if time permits, students may further develop their projects in part 2.

Part 2: Adding Additional Elements

  1. Once students have their rough cuts, inform them that they will now be learning how to add additional elements to their video or audio projects. Play Clip 3, Adding Additional Elements to a Media Project. Then ask students:
    • What is the purpose of adding additional elements into a media project? What do these additional elements provide?
    • According to the video, when should new elements be added?
    • According to the video, how often should you change video clips?
    • According to the video, what is the definition of “B-Roll”? When and why is B-Roll used?
  2. Pass out to each student Handout – Editing Notes: Adding Additional ElementsExplain that students will use the handout to take notes while they watch their rough cut. Instruct students to write the time when when a new element should be added, the time when the new element stops, the content in the element, and the type (audio, video, picture, etc.)
  3. After they finish with their notes, inform students they will now be researching places where they can find the additional elements they are considering adding to their project. Teachers should monitor student’s online research, and, pending website availability at school, assure students that they may not be able to find all of the additional elements they might desire.
  4. Once students have acquired their additional elements, assist students with including their additional elements in their rough cut using audio or video editing programs. Remind them to regularly refer to their notes from Handout – Editing Notes: Adding Additional Elements. If needed, refer back to the video tutorials on Audacity and Video Editor/iMovie to learn how to add elements to audio or video projects.
  5. After students have added their desired elements, encourage them to watch their project a final time to see if any additional edits might be needed. Additionally, you can ask students to share their project with a partner, gather their partner’s feedback, and then edit the film a final time.

Summary Activity:

  1. Tell students they will be watching another Life Songs Interview clip, and encourage them to consider how the clip was edited. Show students Clip 4, Life Songs Interview with Philicia and Jimmy Douglas. Ask students:
    • In terms of editing, what did you notice about the clip?
    • What choices did the editor make in this clip? Why might they have made that choice?
    • Does the editing in this video help tell a story? What other function might it serve?
    • Did you do anything similar in editing your project to what you saw in the clip? If so, what are the similarities?

Extension Activities:

  1. Have students capture their own footage to be used as B-Roll using a camera or other device that allows video recording.
  2. Have students create their own instrumental background tracks using Garageband or other digital audio workstation (DAW) software.


Common Core State Standards

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing

  • Text Types and Purposes 3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.
  • Production and Distribution of Writing 5: Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
  • Research to Build and Present Knowledge 7: Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening

  • Comprehension & Collaboration 1: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • Comprehension & Collaboration 2: Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language

  • Language 1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • Vocabulary Acquisition and Use 6: Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.

Recommended Lessons

Mainstream Metal, Parental Advisories, and Censorship

Grades: High, Middle
Subjects: ELA, General Music, Social Studies/History
Activities: Role Playing, Structured Academic Controversy, Textual Analysis, Think-Pair-Share

How was Heavy Metal involved in the 1980s controversy surrounding the creation of parental advisories for “offensive” music?

Dancing the Twist on Television

Grades: High
Subjects: Social Studies/History
Activities: Charts and Graphs, Role Playing, Textual Analysis, Visual Analysis

How did teen dance shows and the Twist influence American culture?

Rock and Roll Goes to the Movies

Grades: High, Middle
Subjects: Social Studies/History
Activities: Station Activities, Textual Analysis, Visual Analysis

How did movies help to introduce Rock and Roll culture to mainstream audiences in the 1950s?


Grades: High
Subjects: Social Studies/History
Activities: Four Corners, Textual Analysis, Visual Analysis

What were the factors that contributed to the rise of Beatlemania?