Daily Video

April 30, 2020

Brief But Spectacular: Bonding with family and friends during pandemic



Directions: Check out the Brief But Spectacular Video Challenge to see if it is something your students or YOU (we have categories for teachers AND students with gift card prizes!) would like to participate in! The deadline is May 10th. Read the news summary, watch the video, answer the discussion questions.


Student and Teacher #BriefButSpectacular Video Challenge:

Now you can join the fun! Submit your video on how you’ve been inspired or what you’ve learned during COVID-19 by May 10, 2020.

We have the best judges around — senior citizens — who will award prizes to the top three winners in both the student and teacher categories.



  1. Create a video in the style of Brief But Spectacular (watch a few and you’ll get the idea, and see the lesson plan a few lines above).
  2. Check out this easy-to-follow lesson plan on how to make your own Brief video: https://to.pbs.org/3cp1SMo
  3. Submit by May 10, 2020 on Twitter or Instagram tagging @NewsHourExtra and #BriefButSpectacular and email Victoria at vpasquantonio@newshour.org with your contact information.
  4. EXTRA will then share your videos with our judges–senior citizens! Prizes to the winners! $20, $35 and $50 prizes in both the teacher and student categories. Keep in mind that the real prize is that you just made senior citizens across the country smile wide at your Brief moments.
  5. EXTRA will announce the winners over social media.
  6. Email Victoria at vpasquantonio@newshour.org with any questions!



Medical student Choumika Simonis is sheltering in place in Harlem but will soon be a doctor on New York City’s front lines. Her mother, Clemene Vertus, who emigrated from Haiti in the 1980s, lives in Queens and has been working as a certified nursing assistant. Although the crisis has kept them apart, NewsHour bring them together to share their Brief But Spectacular take on each other.

Discussion questions:

  1. Essential question: How might the coronavirus pandemic provide a special opportunity for bonding with family or friends?
  2. Why do you think Choumika Simonis and Clemene Vertus shared their story of how the pandemic has affected them and their relationship with each other?
  3. Have you had a similar experience to that of Simonis and Vertus during the pandemic? What made this bond special for you? Perhaps you have had another type of positive experience with a good book, a new exercise regime or a video game. What made these experiences meaningful to you?
  4. Media literacy:
    • How is Brief But Spectacular similar and different from other news segments you see on the news?
    • When it comes to news stories about coronavirus, what types of stories are you most apt to watch or listen to? (straight news stories, press conferences, scientific developments, international news, human interest, etc.) Explain.

Extension activity: 

The PBS NewsHour profiles people and their passions in the series Brief But Spectacular. Creator Steve Goldbloom and his producing partner Zach Land-Miller wanted to find a new way to share original voices the public might otherwise not see. Goldbloom made this lesson on how you can make your own Brief But Spectacular video. Keep in mind that we revised the lesson for distance learning during the pandemic, so you can interview yourself and tell your own story!


For monthly updates containing teacher resources on Election 2020, click here. Sign up for short education highlights from the PBS NewsHour here.


Remote Learning Tip: If you are making plans for distance learning, take a look at our list of PBS resources that covers a variety of subjects for middle and high school students. 

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