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Book Trailers

28 Mar

My 5th graders recently began making book trailers.  What is a book trailer you ask?  It is similar to a movie trailer- a short video that tries to get you to read a book.

We began this with group trailers.  I read The Gold Cadillac by Mildred D. Taylor to my class.  They worked in small groups of 2-3 to create a book trailer using Photo Story.  Students found photographs at Schools Clipart for their projects.  They then either used the music maker within Photo Story or music from FreePlay Music for their trailer.  We looked at examples of other trailers such as the one here and here.  Talked about the role of images and music in the trailer, and learned how to give enough information to hook a person, but not so much that it became boring or gave away the ending.  I have posted below a couple of examples from our class.

We are in the middle of creating individual trailers now.  I will post an update once the students finish those.

This project was a lot of fun and the students really got into it- even those kids who are virtually non-readers.  They all enjoyed reading the books, because they were thinking about how to turn it into a trailer.  I am so proud of how they are turning out!

I plan to share any comments left with the student, so if you are as impressed with their work as I was, please leave a comment.

Wordle and Animoto in the Classroom

25 Jun

Last month a coworker asked if I would be a guest presenter at her daughter’s school.  Each child in this 3rd grade classroom had the opportunity to invite a guest.  I accepted the invitation, met with her daughter and we planned a presentation of animoto and wordle.  Two of my favorite tools.

We started with animoto.  Due to CIPA I couldn’t allow this group of students to create their own animoto videos, so we decided to do a class video.  I allowed my coworker’s daughter to choose the topic.  She chose rain forests.  I pulled up my schools.clipart.com account and typed rain forest into the search engine.  The students then took turns selecting images from the hundreds available.  I saved those images and we imported them into Animoto.   The video was created while the students worked on their next project- Wordle.

Our next project was wordle.  I have posted on wordle more than once.  It is one of my favorite tools to use with students.  They love using it, it is very simple and quick to explain, and they can customize to their hearts content.  Since they were down to their last few days of school, I gave them the topic of summer.  They creations they made were wonderful.  For 30 minutes, you could have heard a pin drop.

This is the one thing I love about technology.  Once the kids get into it, they become completely engaged.  I would love to hear how you have used either (or both) of these tools in your classroom.

Wordle in the Classroom

31 Oct

I first mentioned Wordle on this blog back in June.  Mrs. Nicholson wrote to me this week and told me about how she used it in her classroom.  I think this is a wonderful project, especially if you have a class that needs some self esteem work.  The students each created a wordle answering “What words do you use to describe yourself?” Mrs. Nicholson used the wordles and pictures of the students to create this video using photostory.

I could see this same activity working well for a biography unit.  Have the students research a person and write a description in Wordle, then pair it with a photo.  Thanks to Mrs. Nicholson for sharing her wonderful idea!!

Photostory

12 Jun

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.