Posts Tagged Movie Maker

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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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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Say It With Clay(mation)

Another report? A test again? Essay questions? I can’t handle anymore!!!

Sound familiar? The scariest part of it all is this is often what the teacher is thinking, not just the student. There are alternatives to “the old stand-by” methods we use every day, every year…forever. One of these methods is claymation.

Claymation, or stop motion animation, is a process by which students use props and digital cameras to create a movie explaining a topic of study you have been covering in your class. Mr. Bill videos, Chicken Run, and Wallace and Gromit are some examples you may have run across sometime in your lives.

The process is quite simple, really. Let’s take the life cycle of a mealworm, for example. A set, or background, is created. Students then create props using clay, paper or other supplies that can be manipulated one tiny-bit at a time. A digital camera is set up on a tripod so it remains stationary for all shots. After taking the first picture, students move their props very slightly (a fraction of an inch) and then take another picture. This process is repeated over and over until the concept is complete. In the example we are using, you start off with a mealworm and then move through all the stages of its life cycle until it becomes a beetle.

When students have finished taking all your pictures, upload the pictures to your computer and then insert them into Movie Maker. By setting the duration of the pictures to a fraction of a second, the pictures appear so quickly one after another that the props appear to be moving. Here is an example done cooperatively by Ms. Dybala’s second graders:

The Water Cycle: A Second Grade View

Don’t be shy when taking your pictures. It takes a lot of them (75 or more) to create even a short video.  Ready to get started using Movie Maker to create your stop motion animated movie?

CLICK HERE to view the Stop Motion Animation + Movie Maker Cheatsheet. 

What’s great about assessing learning through animation is that once the videos are created, they can be used not only this year but in years to come as an introduction or review of a topic in your classroom. Most people automatically think of only Science topics to do with this, but animation can be used to assess learning in any subject area. Re-create the battle of the Alamo, show simple addition or subtraction facts, or breath new life to any “how to.” The possibilities are endless. What are some concepts you teach that would be great for a claymation video?

Tired of the same old, same old? Give claymation a shot!

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