November 13th, 2014

#MyZeitgeist: teacher guide



Want to get your kids excited about current events, learn media literacy and have a blast while doing it? The #MyZeitgeist contest gives students a chance to critically reflect on the year’s biggest news stories and a shot at winning a prize from Google.


The contest: To look back at every triumph, tragedy and trend, Google creates an annual Zeitgeist, a short year-in-review video of the biggest events as seen through the eyes of the search engine. NewsHour Extra has partnered up with Google again to offer students an opportunity to create their own #MyZeitgeist video and win a prize.

How it works: Students pick the news stories that had the greatest impact on 2014 from Google and PBS NewsHour’s resources. Then, compile the events on Trio’s storytelling platforms in an engaging way using images, videos, music and text. Students can use all the social media tools they already love like Instagram and Vine, plus they can choose any song clip from iTunes library to add to their mashup. Once they’ve finished making their#MyZeitgeist video, they can share it with the world and  have fun checking out what other students created. PBS NewsHour, Trio and Google will select the best videos to compete for the grand prize. Use this Rubric/Checklist to help students with their process.

The platforms

There are two different ways to create your #MyZeitgeist story and share it. Choose the platform below that work best for you and then get started!

Trio app |  iPhone or iPad

trio-creation-with-button copy100Trio is a simple way to make fun media mashups.
Easily mix together video/pics/gifs/music.
You can use other people’s media (Vine, Instagram, Giphy, PBS) or your own, and add any song in the world as your soundtrack.
Trio length is 20 seconds total, so be creative!
Through challenges, you and your friends can create Trios together around a fun, common theme.
Beyond making stuff, you can stay entertained any time by watching cool clips from other creators.

Want to get started on Trio? Go to the Apple App store, search “Trio mashup,” then download Trio to your iPhone or iPad.

NOTE: Trio gives you access to the same content you would find through a Google search, so make sure to use good judgement when choosing content that is within the rules of the #MyZeitgeist contest. Tutorial by Gabriel Peters-Lazaro for KQED Education.

Meograph | Desktop 

meograph-creation-with-button copy100Meograph is a digital storytelling tool for creating presentation-like videos.
Use images, videos, timelines, Google Maps and your own narration to bring your work to life.
Build your entry right on the #MyZeitgeist Meograph page and then continue working on it from any computer anytime, see #MyZeitgeist Meograph page to get started.
There is no length of time limit on Meographs, but we recommend keeping it under two minutes, as it is a much more involved process that takes a serious time commitment to do well.

Want to get started? Head to the Meograph creator page

NOTE: When searching for content to add to your Meograph, make sure to use good judgement when choosing content that is within the rules of the #MyZeitgeist contest (link to rules). If you decide to incorporate a music soundtrack, you must use music that does not have a copyright. Meograph submissions containing copyrighted music will not be eligible to win.

Connect | KQED Do Now


Do Now is a weekly activity for students to engage and respond to current issues on Twitter.
Do Now introduces news, new media tools and technology to the learning process, giving students firsthand experience with 21st-century skills. It gives students a chance to explore ways to connect topics in their classes to the present day through a Twitter chat.
Check back for updates on the latest Do Now conversation.

Win | The prizes

Create the best #MyZeitgeist and take home a Nexus tablet from Google. Second and third place will win Visa and Google Play gift cards.

Important dates

Entries must be submitted by midnight on Dec. 19. Finalists will compete in a second round the week of Dec. 22 and the winners will be announced on Dec. 31 on Twitter and the PBS NewsHour Extra website. Please see our full rules and Trio/Meograph terms of service for more information.

More: Can’t get enough #MyZeitgeist? Let your kids continue the conversation on the biggest events of 2014 with other students from around the country starting on Dec. 5, 2014 on KQED’s Do Now #MyZeitgeist Twitter chat. New to social media or video editing? No worries! Our partners at KQED have you covered with video tutorials on how to use these intuitive storytelling platforms and other media used within the project like Twitter and Instagram.

Submit | How to 

Here’s what to do:

1. Tell your students about the contest and find out if they want to participate as a contestant in the 2014 #MyZeitgeist student challenge. All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. (P.S.T.) on December 19, 2014.

2. After your students have created their Trio or Meograph entry, send an email to Katie Gould (kgould with the words “#MyZeitgiest 2014” in the subject line. The email should contain:

  • Your name
  • Your email and or phone number
  • Your student’s name
  • Trio or Meograph title
  • School
  • Date of birth
  • Grade
  • School
  • City and state of residence

3. If their submission has been chosen for the finalist round we will contact you no later than 7:00 a.m. Monday, Dec. 22. Finalists must submit their #MyZeitgeist Process page by Friday, Dec. 26.

My Zeitgeist classroom activities

#MyZeitgeist and contest basics

1. Write the word “Zeitgeist” on the board and ask students to guess what it means. You can help them by explaining the German word “Zeit” means time and “Geist” means spirit or ghost. What could spirit of the time mean? Ask students for examples of Zeitgeist throughout their life and history to help support understanding of this phrase.

2. Show students last year’s annual Google Zeitgeist year in review video or as many as you have time for: here are the 20102011, and 2012 Zeitgeists.

3. After watching ask students the following questions:

  • How did watching the video make you feel? What emotions?
  • What did you like about the video, what didn’t you like?
  • Were there events that weren’t in the video you thought should have been or vice versa?

4. Pass out the #MyZeitgeist Project introduction to students and bring up the #MyZeitgeist digital student guide on the board so students can follow along.

5. Help student who are interested in the contest by supplying them with the following support materials:

  • What is newsworthy worksheet – Helps students to understand what makes an an event news through definitions and a graphic organizer
  • Events outline – Help students collect the relevant information in a simple organized way
  • Copyright and fair use handout – For students using Meograph they will need to follow copyright and fair use guidelines in order to be eligible to win, for example students may not use music with a copyright as a soundtrack to their Meograph (Note: Because of Trio’s 20 second length, students may use songs with a copyright)

6. Give students time to work in class on their projects and finish for homework.

Remembering 2014 through words


1. Hand out the “Remembering 2014 through wordsworksheet to students and explain to them that they are going to try jog their memories about the previous year, by remembering one aspect of it – the words we use. In silence, have students complete the two columns.

2. Now pass out the “Which word should be banned in 2015” article and read through it with students. Let them check to see if any of their words were on the TIME list. (You can even have students raise their hands to show what words they never wanted to hear again.)

3. Continue to read through the handout, and ask students if they were surprised to see or not see certain words on the list. Ask if any of them had originally had put feminism on their list. Read the definition of feminism to students and ask if they thought that was what they would hear. Read students Amy Poehler’s quote on the issue.

4. Have students read the article on the incident. Ask students what they think about the situation the word ban caused. Is it justified that people (both men and women) are upset that the word “feminism” appeared on the banned word list? Let students discuss and have the class take turns debating both sides.

5. Finally, read aloud the Editor’s Note that TIME inserted at the top of the banned word list poll page:

TIME apologizes for the execution of this poll; the word ‘feminist’ should not have been included in a list of words to ban. While we meant to invite debate about some ways the word was used this year, that nuance was lost, and we regret that its inclusion has become a distraction from the important debate over equality and justice. –Nancy Gibbs

6. Ask students for their final thoughts on the words and the word that created such a stir.

See contest Rules, terms of service and privacy policy.

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