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21st Century Writing Prompts: Lights, Camera, Action!

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Sunday, November 29, 11:00 am–12:00 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Edward Gonzalez  
Experience an unboxing video using random members from the audience, and then learn how to generate unique writing prompts aligned to Common Core standards. Poster session overview- 11:00-11:30 Q&A 11:30-11:45 Unboxing Video 11:45-12:00 Q&A

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: None
Topic: Storytelling/multimedia
Grade level: 3-5
Subject area: Language arts, Math
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
  • Demonstrate cultural competency when communicating with students, parents and colleagues and interact with them as co-collaborators in student learning.
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Unfortunately, remedial students are typically viewed from a deficit perspective. Educators rarely consider the experiences and knowledge of struggling students as an asset to the classroom learning environment. This troubling trend is especially true for young elementary students. This session and the lessons shared began by asking the question, "what can these children teach me?" The resulting experience led to an environment where ALL children, regardless of reading level or academic history, was guiding the learning environment and sharing their expertise of popular YouTube unboxing videos.

The purpose of this session is for professional educators to begin using the experiences of underserved students as the first springboard into academic learning. This promotes the concept that children must be co-collaborators in learning experiences, and that sometimes it is ok for the educator not to be the expert.

The objectives for this session are for the attendees to participate in a live YouTube unboxing video (from the perspective of students) and learn how to leverage the experience for narrative and informational writing aligned to Common Core standards.
The guiding principles and theory for this session and the accompanying lessons are based on 21st Century learning and participatory culture as first described by Henry Jenkins in (2006). These principles required: (1) that the children mentor me in the new genre of unboxing videos; (2) there be low barriers to expression; (3) student voices mattered; (4) a collaborative environment leading to a shared project.
This session will include multiple resources that were tried and tested with struggling third-grade students including: (1) a math task where children budgeted and ordered costumes from Amazon; (2 )a narrative folktale-remix based on the costumes the children ordered, (3) details for creating a YouTube unboxing video, (4)narrative and opinion writing lesson plan samples.
Most importantly, this session will include authentic examples of children helping facilitate a professional development session for preservice and in-service students that show how even our youngest children can contribute as leaders to the development of educators.

Evidence of success for the presentation include:
A published YouTube unboxing video featuring ISTE audience participants, an outline for narrative and informational writing genres, and a plan of action for implementing this type of learning experience.


(5 minutes) Introducing Edward's background as an educator and his related work leveraging child-instructional leadership. The presentation will be run while recording a video for YouTube so participants will be asked if they are willing to participate in the video and can voluntarily opt-out of appearing, but still, sit in the presentation.
(10 minutes) Edward will introduce the concept of the discovery box and the unboxing video. This segment will describe how children chose the contents of the discovery box in a math task where they created a budget based on costumes and props available on Amazon.
(20 minutes) The unboxing video begins and audience members are invited in groups of five to the front of the room. Each group lasts 4 minutes and has to try and determine the items in the discovery box by feeling the items and pulling out clues. This segment is similar to a variety show in terms of the upbeat tempo. A signal will be given and audience members will rush on or off the "stage" of the front of the room. This segment will end with the "unboxing" of the secret items.
(20 minutes) Edward will share how this experience was directly tied to narrative and informational writing exercises based on Common Core standards. This will be shared in an outline generated with audience input. There will also be an example of how the entire session can be turned into a professional development that is guided by students. This will include an authentic example where children ran this lesson for preservice and in-service teachers at a California State University and within professional development.
(5 minutes) Edward will address questions from the audience.

Supporting research

Chesher, C. (2019). Toy robots on YouTube: Consumption and peer production at the robotic moment. Convergence, 25(1), 148–160.

Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Jackie Marsh (2016) ‘Unboxing’ videos: co-construction of the child as cyberflâneur, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 37:3, 369-380, DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2015.1041457

Nicoll, B., & Nansen, B. (2018). Mimetic Production in YouTube Toy Unboxing Videos. Social Media + Society.

Thompson, M. (2016). "Unboxing" toddlers and technology: an ethnographic case study. International Journal of Academic Research in Progressive Education and Development. 5(2) 49-60

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Edward Gonzalez, Bakersfield City School Distrct

I am a k-12 teacher, university lecturer, newly-minted doctoral graduate, and keynote speaker. As the proud recipient of the Computer Using Educators 2018 LeRoy Finkle Fellowship and the California State University, Fullerton 2016 Edwin Carr Fellowship, I strive to give my low socioeconomic students the opportunity to lead in the classroom and at the university. In my circles, I am known for facilitating children-led professional development for adults. You can find me regularly presenting at the National CUE Conference and the International Society for Technology in Education.

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