Posts Tagged Digital Storytelling

Texas Public Schools Rock! Video Contest

You know it, and I know it…there are some AMAZING things happening on your campuses!  Now it’s time to invite students to tell the world about what makes their Texas Public School so special.  The Texas Association of School Boards is now accepting entries for its first ever Student Video Contest.

Original, student-created videos must be between 30 seconds and 2 minutes long and should focus on one of the four themes below:

  • What makes your school exceptional?
  • Why your school deserves the support of your community
  • How the funding cuts of the last Legislative session have affected your school
  • Why Texans should be proud of their public schools

This is a great opportunity for students to write, produce, and star in a movie that could have real impact on your community as well as their classroom.  First prize in each of 3 divisions is $5,000 – for classroom equipment and materials!

Click here for contest rules & details.

Need help getting your video project started?  Check out our Digital Storytelling Resources to get your video project off on the right foot.  January 31, 2013 is the contest deadline – so you’ll want to get this project underway soon.  Have fun & be sure to share your entries with us!


Add Some “Zip” to Your Teacher Blog

While your teacher blog can be an effective channel of communication for students, parents, and the community at large, let’s face it; without any images, your Teacher Webpage can appear a bit…well…boring. Never fear! Here at the iCafe we have several sure-fire ways to put a little “zip” into your Teacher Blog.

Get Organized – Use Tables

Using tables can allow you to place content exactly where you want it. Want an image to appear next to your text, rather than above or below it?  Use a table!

To add a table to your latest blog post, simply click on the Insert Table icon while editing your blogpost. From there, you can choose to use the Table Wizard to add rows and columns to your table.


Brighten Things Up – Insert Images & Links

Including images of what your students are doing in class, or anything that relates to the information you’re posting is a GREAT way to grab reader’s attention.  Another way to make your Teacher Webpage interactive is to include links to helpful sites, parent information, instructional materials, and more.  When you’re ready to add images to your Teacher Webpage, Check out our Working with Links and Images Cheatsheets!

Get the WOW Factor – Embed Content

In a nutshell, embeding content allows you to create a window within your teacher webpage through which visitors can view content normally found on other websites.  Some things you might want to consider embedding are:

Stuff to Embed:  Videos of Student Created Work (YouTube):

Stuff to Embed:  Instructional Materials from edu.Glogster, edu.Prezi, or other Content Creation Sites:

Embedding Content:  It’s not as Tricky as it Looks!

Embeding HTML sounds really tricky, doesn’t it?  Guess what?  Embeding content does NOT take a degree in computer science!  Boiled down, it’s as simple as Copy/Paste.    Still not convinced?  Check out the Embed Content on Teacher WebPage Cheatsheet , and give it a try!

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Touching Hearts – Create a Video Keepsake for Your Class

  With graduations and grade level promotions only a few weeks away, many teachers and students enjoy looking back at all the amazing things that happened during the year.  If you’re a photo-nut like me, you’ve been taking pictures of field trips, special projects, silly students and comforting colleagues nearly every day.  What better way to archive them at the end of the year, than to create a video keepsake for your class?

Tip #1 –  Don’t Move the Cheese.  Create a folder on your desktop and name it Video Keepsake. Save copies of all of your photos in this folder.  Do not move or delete this folder until your project is 100% completely finished.

Tip #2 – Animoto, Animoto, Animoto.   Be serious.  You don’t have time to load 300 photos into some software and then customize all the transitions, and mess with adding titles by hand.  Let a photo slideshow site like do all the heavy lifting for you!  Animoto will customize all the flashy transitions and make adding text and music a breeze so you don’t ever have to sweat the details.

New to Animoto? Visit Animoto’s sign up page for Educators 

Need to Renew your Animoto Educational Account? Your Educational Accounts expire every six months, so you’ll need a new code to renew your account.  You can re-apply for a new code and extended access by visiting animoto’s education page.  Once you’ve received the code you have 1 month to share it with students and colleagues (it’s good for 50 accounts – Hello Student Project!!)

Never seen an Animoto video? Check out the memories Jane Long Elementary made during their 2010 “Pie In the Face” Contest:

 Tip #5 – Start Now  With a project that’s as close to your heart as this one is, you’ll want to give yourself enough time.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done plenty projects like this the night before I absolutely HAD to have them done, but it’s pretty stressful.  Do yourself a favor and start now so that you can slide right into summer without an ounce of stress – and earn countless “#1 Teacher” mugs, pens, and totebags along the way.

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Got the Book Report Blues?

Kids love stories and kids love technology.  What better way, then, for them to show what they’ve learned than through a book trailer?  A book trailer is like a movie trailer.  You know, the short video clips where that guy with a really deep voice describes all the thrilling parts of a movie without giving away the ending.  Kids can do the same thing!  (Minus the deep voice.)

The first part of the process looks like this:

  1. Kids read and enjoy a book
  2. Kids create a Powerpoint highlighting key points of the book
  3. Kids save their Powerpoint as JPEGs when they’re finished editing

After they’ve saved their slides as JPEGs (picture files) they now have a variety of options to create an exciting multimedia presentation (don’t freak out, it’s really easy!) and Photo Story 3 are two really great options for creating a book trailers.  And the best part is, the LCISD CITS team has done all the heavy lifting.  That’s right, we’ve created simple cheat sheets that will walk you through the entire process whether you decide to take your presentation online ( or want to add narration and your own transitions (Photo Story 3.)  Either way, you can’t lose, so check out our cheatsheets in the Digital Storytelling section of the Resources page!

P.S.  Don’t forget the most important part…SHARING the Book Trailers!  You’re principal will think you’re top-tech when your kids broadcast these on the morning announcements.

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