Posts Tagged Animoto

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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Animoto on the go

Here at the iCafe, we love Animoto. You’ve probably seen a handful of posts about how we use it for digital storytelling, book trailers, and more, but as easy at it is, it does still require you to take pictures on your camera, download those pictures on to your computer, upload them to Animoto, and go through the production process. I wish there were some way that I could just magically take all of those pictures I’ve taken and send them straight from my camera to Animoto…

The Animoto App!

And now I can! Thanks to the great folks at, there is an app that I can download on my iPhone that allows me to take the pictures on my phone and load them directly into the app to edit, add music, and produce!

Animoto App

The FREE Animoto App

To find the app, simply go into iTunes or the App Store on your phone. Once you have it downloaded, it’s so easy to use…simply take your pictures and load it into the app. Why, it was so easy I made an Animoto video walking through each step!

(To view the video below while at school, make sure you are logged in as a teacher!)

A bit of analysis

I really like the Animoto iPhone app. It’s so easy to use, really fast, and I can basically create a video anywhere I have my phone. It does have some negatives though:

  • For one, you have to have an iPhone. There might be an app for the Droid phone, but I can’t find it (let us know in the comments section if you found it!).
  • You can’t bring in video clips.
  • There is no embed code

The last one up there about no embed code really bothered me…until I found a work around! One really GREAT feature about the app is that you can download the video onto your phone (no need to stream it every time you want to show someone your awesome video!). Once it is in your photo gallery, you can quickly and easily upload it to YouTube, and voila, I have my embed code! It’s a few more steps than if Animoto just gave it to me, but it’s not too terribly painful.

The good news, is that many of you probably don’t care if you have any embed code. As long as you can go to the video website, you, your students, and your students’ parents are happy, and that’s exactly what the Animoto app does for you. Quick videos. Quick rendering. Easy sharing.

Sneak Peak

I have one more video for you! This one is a sneak peak of a blog post coming soon, and it involves me being on a roof! Enjoy!

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Coming to a Library Near You…

We’ve all done them, love ’em or hate ’em…BOOK REPORTS!

Book reports are used to ensure to the teacher that the student has read the book and understood, at least on the surface, what happened in the book.  One thing I never liked about a book report though, is that most of the time all the student was doing was re-telling the story!  There was no check for a deeper understanding of what the author’s purpose for the book was, no insight on whether the student took the lesson that was trying to be taught. And on top of that, they really aren’t very fun to produce!

Getting EXCITED about Book Reports

We want students to be excited to share what they have learned…excited to get to that next book!  It is time to look at other alternatives to the book report. And while we are doing that, how about looking at one with a technology twist?

Let me introduce you to book trailers.  We have all seen the movie trailer concept that is used to promote upcoming movies.  They give a “sneak peek” into the movie, trying to grab your attention and get you thinking about what the actual story is…finding underlying concepts.  It peaks the viewer’s interest and, in many cases, persuades them to go see the movie or purchase it when it is released.  A book trailer works the same way.

After a student reads a book, allow them a chance to create a short video that provides information about the book while also leaving enough questions to grab the viewer’s interest and persuade them to read the same book.  If a student is able to achieve this within a 30-45 second time frame then they are proving that they have achieved a deeper understanding of what the book is truly about.

Creating a book trailer is not very difficult either.  A student begins by creating a few slides in PowerPoint.   Once created, the slides are saved as jpeg images (pictures) that can be imported into another program to create the video, such as Photo Story 3 for Windows (Windows Live Movie Maker if in Windows 7), Movie Maker, or Animoto.  For help with saving PPT slides as images click here.

Which program you use is up to you.  Each program brings something a little different to the table.  How you want your effects may be a determining factor.  Here is an example of the same book trailer done with each program.  Notice the difference in effects for each.


Movie Maker

Photo Story 3

You and your students may find a favorite…you may experiment with all three.  Keep your options open!  For help with any of these programs you can refer to our Digital Storytelling section of our Resources page.

For another perspective on book trailers, check out this post from Holly Dornak last year: Got the Book Report Blues? And more importantly, share with us your book trailers! We would love for you to put those links in the comments section below! So what are you waiting for? Happy “Book Reporting”!

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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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