HONOR the CREATOR – Course 5 Project Reflection



Here is my reflective video explaining the HONOR THE CREATOR Unit.  I taught this unit to Grade 7 MYP Design students.



The main purpose of this unit is for students to have a better understanding of copyright, fair use, and Creative Commons.  After learning more about these concepts, students create a music video to honor the original creators of the songs they used.  Students produced a variety of music videos, mostly they, either:

1. Created their own visuals (photography/video) to go with a Creative Commons song.

2. Used Creative Commons visuals (photography/video) to go with a Creative Commons song.

3. Used Fair Use to remix/mash-up copyrighted media.


Here is my unit planner.


Here are some examples of student work:

Masao’s Rhapsody in Blue Tokyo Mix

Melanie’s Video using Pop Danthology 2014

Shala’s Orange Love Music Video

Jules’ Pop Stop Motion Video

Jessie’s Video on Exploring Japan in Seasons

Ohmey’s “Am I Wrong” Video

Hina’s Video for April Showers

Overall, the unit was a great success.  I feel like the unit challenged both me and the kids.  We had some great conversations and there were endless STOP – Teachable MOMENTS!  I had a lot of questions I had to talk my way through – so many covers and lipdubs done on YouTube that aren’t pulled down, even though they seem to violate Fair Use.  In the end, I say that it is up to the original creator, in the end, it promotes their music too.  This is a really great resource I found after the unit, that I’ll use next year to promote more discussions.

As I assessed the videos, it was easy to see that most kids really “got it” – and a few kids I needed to check in with more.   Overall, most students earned a higher achievement level on this project than they did on the previous two design projects this year.

I wish I asked some students to share their final videos with the musician that created the music to begin with (where possible)- some of the kids created great music videos for these artists.  I’m thinking that I can create a resource of how to share their work – as all of this sharing is optional (next year).

I look forward to hearing your feedback.  I struggled to get everything into a 10-minute video, but I got most of the important things in it.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how my COETAIL colleagues’ final projects went, as well, over the next few weeks!



13 thoughts on “HONOR the CREATOR – Course 5 Project Reflection

  1. Reid Wilson says:

    I’ve heard a lot about you from Kurt and Meli. Ironic that I find you are a fellow COETAILer. Sounds like a great project. Congratulations. Take care,

  2. Melinda Martin says:

    One of my favorite parts of your project is how you connected with artists in the real world. With twitter, they’re accessible, and it’s fabulous that you utilized that. I also really loved the google form you required students to use to get feedback. Well done!

    • Thanks, Melinda. These were definitely two additions to the project this year. I wish I had more “real people” for the kids to connect with – I will try again next year and may have them record a short video answering the questions, so I have them to use in the future. I had high hopes for this, but only got about 10% return on my responses out to the real world.
      In the past I had the kids make their own feedback forms, but I found they weren’t that successful in creating good questions for their feedback form. I thought about how COETAIL uses the feedback form for us at the end of this project. I wanted students to have a good model of a feedback form (that they’ll hopefully emulate in our next project).

  3. Marius Visser says:

    Hi Julie,

    It’s late at night, I’ve had a tough day at school, and here I sit with a fresh cup of caffeine just loving the music videos created by your students! Melanie’s Pop Danthology really stood out with an amazing mash-up of the latest hits. If I had heard this on the radio, I would have thought it was a professional remix. Amazing Job!

    Honor the creator taught your students a valuable lesson in fair use and copyright. So important nowadays where most content is simply taken off the web without giving credit back (or with no permission).

    In one of my earlier projects, I mixed-and-mashed-up a slide show, taking bits and pieces I needed off the internet (but also giving careful attention to the rights). I “borrowed” one video clip on YouTube from a third party, and when I uploaded my work, it was immediately blocked worldwide, stating that my “borrowed” clip belonged to National Geographic (how it got there in the first place is beyond me). Anyway, a vital lesson learned nevertheless.

    I enjoyed how the students took responsibility for their own learning experiences, from start to finish, and how the project progressed through the vital stages from start to end product. Having the students share their work on their blogs, took it to the next level of presentation. What I did find extraordinary in your video clip, was getting the students to reflect on how they wish to share (or not) their own creations – thus giving them the sense of what it feels like to have their hard work “pulled to pieces” by others (or not). Creating this sense of ownership amongst them truly got them to think twice about doing the same to others’ work online. Absolutely brilliant!
    Thanks for giving my tough day a relaxing ending!


    • Hi Marius,
      Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the project. I truly enjoyed working with the kids on this project too – it was kind of sad when it was over – like when you finish a good book. I’m now thinking about hosting a film festival at school to include their projects and some of the other grade level projects.


  4. Beth Queeney Dressler says:

    Hi Julie,

    Congratulations to you and your students! Your final project is purposeful, engaging, relevant and timely. It’s so obvious that you really know your students, listen to them, and take the time to stop for those teachable, just in time moments. As you said, those “what-ifs” and student wonderings are where the learning really is.

    I love your students’ videos, and have to agree with Marius that Melanie’s is an awesome example of a mash-up. I will definitely share these videos with teachers and kids when investigating the concepts of fair use, copyright and creative commons. Nothing better than real world examples from their peers.

    Thank you to you and your students for letting us into your learning community.


  5. Hi Julie,

    Woot woot! Thanks for the shout-out! Hey, it’s been officially adapted at our school as well – very exciting.

    I love how you adapted a previous unit to address the interests and needs of this specific class. Also, I think it’s great that you were able to combine the design cycle with Creative Commons so thoroughly Plus, thank you for making a clear video that got straight to the point.

    I really enjoyed this review of the unit and your students’ videos. I will be sharing this with our teachers.

    Well Done and Congratulations!

  6. Ceci Gomez-Galvez says:

    Hi Julie,

    You knocked it out of the park with this project! What can be more meaningful to our learners than to present them with learning experiences where they get to create, have fun, take risks, and at the same, value and honor artists’ work.

    Just like your kiddos, I have also learned to credit the creator. I have learned how to use and credit music, photographs, art pieces, texts, and anything that inspires me to author my own work. I battled with this idea at some point during my COETAIL journey. So when I see young learners show their understanding of this concept in their work, it reinforces its importance for all learners.

    Remixing never looked so good 😉
    Congrats on a great C5 project!

  7. Lissa Layman says:

    One of my biggest takeaways from COETAIL has been Creative Commons & Fair Use. It seems that NO ONE really knows about it and teachers at our school aren’t teaching kids about it. I think it’s awesome that you took this on and hope that more schools start including mandatory units that help kids understand the importance of copyright! GREAT job! 🙂

  8. Claudelle Lewis says:

    Hey Julie, the two things that I connected to the most is your project (create a music video – very interesting!) and the lesson that you shared on about Creative Commons.

    Like Katy, it was great to see how you used real life inspiration from NPR to create a new unit to address the needs and interests of your students. And the Creative Commons lesson gave the students the opportunity to license their work and explained what the various licenses would mean in terms of other individuals using their product.

    Great video!

  9. D.J. Condon says:

    Hi Julie,
    One of the first of many things that impressed me about this unit was your recognition that the previous unit, Book Trailers, wasn’t inspiring students as much as you would have liked and that you consequently changed the unit focus to engage them more fully. That was crucial. (And I enjoyed your description of your Aha! moment regarding that realization.)

    I also thoroughly enjoyed the samples of student work you provided. These two aspects–honoring student interests and making public student work–are clearly very important.

    Within the unit planner, I thought the three Significant Concepts were all good, though I might revise the first one as “to entice an audience” seems like it could be refined, made more specific. Some of what is listed under Knowledge really seems to be identifying skills, e.g. “how to search for…”

    I wasn’t entirely clear how you differentiated the assessment the final assessment, though, since everyone was doing a music video, right?

    Overall, I found this to be an excellent unit. Well done!

  10. Nice work, Julie.

    Thanks for giving us a view into your class – always interesting to see what kinds of things are happening in other schools around Japan. I think you are right that students really got into the task that may not have if it were not specifically geared toward their interests.

    I did a similar assignment in Course 3 for CC and YouTube remixing, although you definitely went further into the design cycle and that’s one thing I want to focus on in the future – very important!

    I also really liked how you did peer feedback using Forms and the visual results of those are very cool.

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