Photostory is not a new application, but one that does deserve a mention every now and again. It is a free download available through microsoft and will allow users to combine pictures and music into a short “movie”.
In my 5th grade classroom, I used it to have students create a “movie” about the Gettysburg Address or the speech I will Fight No More Forever. We had studied both speeches and the time periods from which they were given. The unit’s culminating activity was to make the movie. I have listed the steps below:
1. Students typed up the speeches in powerpoint. They put 1-2 sentences per slide (using solid colored slides) and saved these as a .jpg. To do this, you go to file-save as and then below where you type the file name, go to file type and change it to .jpg then click save.
2. They then went onto schools.clipart.com to find pictures relevant to the speech they chose to work on. The pictures had to be relevant to the time period or to the words said in the speech. These were saved into one folder, along with the slide .jpgs.
3. They imported the slide .jpgs and the pictures into Photostory. They then spent a lot of time arranging, editing, and making transitions.
4. The next step was to add music. Photostory will let you choose the style, mood, intensity and volume of the music playing in the background. My rule was that the mood had to reflect the poem and/or photos. As long as they could justify why the mood fit, I allowed it. Some chose a somber tune to reflect how many died, some select something driving and upbeat to reflect the chaos of war.
This project was very simple and the kids picked up how to use photostory with little to no prompting from me. I was truly impressed with some of the end products. I would not hesitate to use this program with grades 3-12. I believe that you could probably even do it with younger kids, but I would provide a single folder on the desktop with pictures they could select from.
Ideas for use: poetry, speeches, story retelling, visual timeline, and endless other uses.