The American Film Institute created a great student film curriculum that I have been using with my 8th grade digital video arts classes.

In this assignment the kids had to shoot a film in a small group. the requirements were: one actor only, all filmed within 5 feet of the door. The actor was to walk up to the door, hear a frightening noise, react in fear, struggle to open the door, finally make it through the door and show relief that the strange noise was not in-fact dangerous.

The first day, they shot the film without any storyboard or planning, then they watched the outcome, learned more about camera angles and storyboards and wrote a storyboard. Next, to experience the importance of storyboards they had to re-shoot using the storyboard from a different group. Finally, they rewrote and then re-filmed their own storyboard. For the editing part, all students had to edit their own version from any footage from the several group sessions. All camera audio had to be muted, while music and sound effects were added to tell the story and build the suspense.

A sample video created by Cynthia Gaub
for the North Middle School students.
See more student made examples on Teacher Tube.

Here is a link to the student made videos produced using this unit. In Cynthia's 8th grade digital video class.