Adding a Public Service Announcement assignment for student choice and authenticity

Public Service AnnouncementA public service announcement is a short 30-60 second video that makes an announcement for the good of the public.  It’s normally persuasive where the creator takes a side on a issue and attempts to enlighten or educate the public to win them over.PSAs can create awareness, show the importance of a problem or issue, convey information, or promote a behavioral change.”


Benefits of incorporating a PSA Assignment in your class:

PSA projects tend to be creative, active, and authentic. They are a nice change of pace and in most cases the students spend more time with the material than they would on a paper, as the planning requires the students to work with the information in different ways.  In addition, for some assignments, creating a PSA can be a more authentic and relevant assignment than writing a paper.  

Just like with different types of writing, video projects have different types that require different skills.  A PSA is a specific type of video that requires the students to:

  • get involved in civic action
  • research issues of interest to them
  • demonstrate content knowledge
  • be exploratory and research-based
  • integrate the QEP of sustainability
  • target a specific audience
  • be quick and concise
  • deliver a message
  • persuade the public
  • produce a product
  • have an authentic audience if published (depends upon assignment)


PSA assignments can be incorporated into almost any subject matter.  Here are a few examples:

  • English – on a social issue raised in a play or book or exploring a different style of writing
  • History – on an issue that occurred during the time being studies, example factory conditions in the industrial revolution
  • Science – on an issue such as climate change, water conservation, spread of disease
  • Languages – on a social issue pertinent to a country that speaks the target language (in english or the target language)
  • Education – on school choice
  • Health – on washing hands and the spread of disease
  • Political – on gun control


PSAs should be between 30- and 60-seconds and can be video or audio only.  These assignments can be successful as an individual, pair, or group project.  The key elements to a PSA are:

  1. Target audience – who do I want to reach with this message?
  2. Message – what do I want my audience to understand?
  3. Significance of the issue to the audience – why is this important to my audience
  4. Call to Action – what do I want my audience to do as a result of the PSA?

Sample Assignment

Create a 30- to 60-second public service announcement.  Apply your knowledge of persuasion to “sell” your message to your target audience.  Except for the music, the material in your video should be your original work. This means your video footage and images should be created by you.  We will have access to cameras in school, but you will need to plan your time well to get everything done. It is important that your storyboard is completed thoroughly so you know what you need for the filming, etc, and can efficiently obtain the material.

Adapted from Lesson Plans for Creating Media-Rich Classrooms edited by Mary T. Christel and Scott Sullivan  © 2007 National Council of Teachers of English.


Feel free to add any or all of these resources to your OAKS course to help the students with the project.

  1. Select a Topic and Begin Planning
  2. Conduct Research
  3. Creating a Storyboard
  4. Filming, Finding Images, Conducting Interviews
  5. Creating the Video
  6. Sharing the VideoPSA Student Checklist


Writing Public Service Announcements

Sample Grading Rubrics


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