Tag Archives: video

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.



30 Aug

I recieved a shocking email a week ago.  It was an agency representing the Illinois State Board of Education.  They were putting together a training course for Illinois teachers on gifted students.  They were requesting the use of my google application video in their curriculum.

When I made the video, I had never put together a video before, at least nothing other than what I could make using Photostory, Powerpoint, or a little with Movie Maker.  When I read about the aplication process, I was completely overwhelmed.  I really didn’t think I could make anything that would “wow” google enough to include me in their teacher academy.  In fact, I wasn’t really even sure how to go about making a video.

I did what any 21st century person would- I googled it!  I searched for other application videos and used them as inspiration.  I really thought about what being a 21st century learner meant.  The ideas came forth quickly and I began working on the project.  I had to learn to use pinnacle (the only software our school had, and not an easy program to learn) and worked with students to put it together.  The end result was exactly what I had envisioned, and I was pleased.

I had no idea that over 7,00 people would view the video on youtube, nor did I forsee a time when someone would let me know they saw someone present at a conference and my video was shown.   Never in a million years did I imagine that anyone would want to use it in their curriculum, but each of those things happened.

To me this truly demonstrates the power of networking, of the internet, of web 2.0.  Someone without a “name” for herself can express her views and other people will listen; Other people will share a similar view.  The power in that is immense.

How does this translate to the classroom?  If every student could see that their opinions, thoughts, and beliefs do matter to someone, think of how truly motivating that would be.  Suddenly someone appreciates them in a way they hadn’t yet experienced.

Two weeks ago, I began a new year teaching 5th grade.  I plan to incorporate many opportunities for my students to express themselves, and to share their learning, their ideas, and their hopes for the future with someone outside the walls of our school.  I hope they find that experience as uplifting and motivating as I have.

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!!

Understanding Your Kids

16 Aug

Can you relate to this mom?  Too many parents and teachers can.  Kids use a whole new language to text and IM each other.  So how do we protect them from something we don’t understand?

I am a firm believer that the best way to protect kids is to educate them, and yourself, to dangers that exist in our world.  This goes for online protection as well as for protection IRL (in real life).  This generation is one that spends more time emailing, chatting, texting, and IMing than most adults can comprehend.  Many parents see a chat conversation or a text message and it looks like just a series of letters and numbers that barely make sense.  Kids text in a whole new language, and parents need to know what the are saying.

In this post I am including several common phrases that kids use when texting, IMing, and chatting.  These are a few of the MANY phrases that are texted each day.  I have spent many hours on Yahoo IM and in various chat rooms and forums.  While I do this for enjoyment, I also do this to stay ahead (or at least afloat) with what is going on online.  As a computer lab teacher, and mom to a 2, 6, and 9 year old, I feel that it is my job to know what goes on online and to educate and protect my children and students.  The phrase below are phrase that I have seen many times.  In some cases, they can be innocent, in others, not so much.

P911- Parents coming
POS/TOS- Parents over Shoulder/Teacher over shoulder
IRL- In real life
a/s/l- age/sex/location
wtgp- Want to go private?
f2f- face to face

If you would like to learn more about common and not so common phrase head to How to Understand Your Kids’ Text Messages.  They do a wonderful job of giving you all kinds of insight into the every changing “Text Language”.  I would highly encourage all parents and teachers to look at the site and to go into some chat rooms or become familiar with IM and texting.

Google Teacher Academy- Chicago 2008

8 Aug

Many people have asked how I became a Google Certified Teacher, and the answer is that I applied and was accepted into the program.  Until today I could not answer the question that always followed my explanation- “When will there be another Google Teacher Academy?”

The answer is September 24, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois!  Applications are being accepted now through August 24th.  To apply you will need to make a one minute video on one of the following topics :”Motivation and Learning” OR “Classroom Innovation”.  Then applicants must complete an online application form.   For more information head to the Google for Educators site.

I would LOVE to hear from those of you applying, so please comment on this page!!  Good luck to everyone who applies.  It is such a wonderful experience!!

I am including my video application on Motivation and Learning.  There are many videos posted on youtube.com as well if you need an idea of what others have done.

Google Reader

14 Jul

Last week I touched on iGoogle, this week I will discuss another of my favorite Google Tools- Google Reader. I was a little slow to discover this tool. In fact, I didn’t really enter the “blogosphere” as a reader or blogger until this spring. When I was at the MACE conference in Manhatten, KS early this spring, Tammy Worcester talked about Google Reader during her keynote, and I decided to give it a try. I found a couple of blogs and subscribed to their RSS feeds through Google Reader. Now I subscribe to over 25 blogs in topics ranging from motherhood to the most common in my reader- educational technology. I also have Google Reader feed into my iGoogle account so that I can keep up with everything from the same place.

What is Google Reader?

Google Reader is an RSS feed reader. RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication. Just like you subscribe to magazines and they are delivered into your home mailbox, Google Reader lets you subscribe to blogs and have them delivered into you Google Reader mailbox which can then deliver to your iGoogle account.

How do I set up Google Reader?

Signing up for Google Reader is simple. To go http://www.google.com/reader and sign up for an account. This should be a simple and self explanatory process. Setting up your feeds, while simple, is not so self explanatory. Here is a video that shows you one way to add subscriptions.

Where do I find blogs?

Great question!  You can start by adding this blog 🙂  To find other edtech blogs, look at my blogroll.  I have linked to some great blogs and they would love to have you join their readership.  You can do a google search just for blogs.  The way I find most of my blogs is by going to links on the blogs I subscribe to and by using stumble upon.

How do I manage everything?

If you would like to learn how to manage your Google Reader account- create folders and organize everything, here is a great video!

iPhones in class?

21 Jun

Abilene Christian University has done some research into using iphones in their curriculum. The video (way down below) shows what it might look like to have the iPhones fully integrated into university life. This fall all freshman attending the university will be receiving and iphone. This is the first university to undertake this sort of project. I applaud the fact that instead of trying to take technology out of student hands, they are coming up with innovative ways to make the technology useful in education.

So many times schools want to shut off what kids are using to the point that it takes away a teaching tool. Our district has a policy against iPods in middle and high schools. While I understand that some kids can and do abuse technology, by making such a drastic rule, teachers can’t put the iPods in their hands for a meaningful learning experience. I truly hope that soon, school and district administrators across the country will see that we should be taking what interests the kids and using that as a medium to help them learn. How different are these two scenarios:

Kid 1– Sits in the back of history class doddeling in a notebook, not paying attention to anything in the classroom.
Kid 2– Sits in the back of math class texting a friend, not paying attention to anything in the classroom.

Not much, neither kid is paying attention. Kid 2 would be suspended for using a cellphone in many schools. Kid 1 would be ignored or told to put it away. Would we take away his pencil and paper though? Doubtful, but I would be willing to bet that kid 2 no longer has his phone. Some may say well “he broke the rule of having a phone in class”. True, but the fundamental issue is that NEITHER child was learning!

A better response would be to realize that kid 1 is artistic and kid 2 is into tech and to craft assignments based on these interests that would engage them. Kids have a natural curiosity and I truly believe that 99% of children desire to learn and show that learning, but most of the time, we give too many restrictions and parameters and they give up because we don’t let them use the tools that best teach them or help them convey what they have learned.

Why not have kid 1 use his artistic abilities to recreate a scene from history, to create what propaganda might have looked like, or design a 3D representation of the battlefield? Why not have kid 2 create a tutorial video for posting on youtube about the current math assignment? In both scenarios, the students use what they know well to demonstrate what they don’t know so well, and both learn in the process. Isn’t that experience preparing them for the future more so than listening to a lecture and cranking out a worksheet?