10 fun ways to use video creation in the classroom

Why not celebrate Digital Learning Day by instigating a video creation project in your classroom? Students enjoy working on video projects—they inspire creativity, allow for teamwork, and produce a final product the students can be proud of. Incorporating video projects in the classroom is one way to provide a rich blended learning experience for students.

  1. Divide students into groups to make a movie of a book they have read, retelling the elements of a plot. Or, ask students to create a video project about their favorite character or chapter instead of writing a book report.
  2. Create a song or rap video to help students remember math strategies, spelling words, or grammar rules.
  3. Turn student-written poems into artistically visual videos.
  4. Play charades by asking students to create a 30-second video. They can act out vocabulary words and have the rest of the class guess which word they represent.
  5. Design a movie about the history of your school or community. Have the children act it out.
  6. Produce a news segment of a special event, such as a guest speaker, a school 5K fun run, a beautification project, or a fund raiser.
  7. Ask students to highlight themselves in a one-minute get-to-know-you video.
  8. Invent a music video, using a song the students are learning in music class.
  9. Build a short documentary to explain a science project. Video is great to show time-lapse changes for experiments.
  10. Allow students to re-teach a unit using video. Students can create props and visuals to summarize what they learned about a given topic.


Useful Video Apps

Many students now have access to iPods, phones, and tablets which are equipped with great, portable cameras for taking video. The following movie-making apps are useful, inexpensive (most are under $2), and can take your student-created videos to the next level: ScriptWrite, iMovie, Game Your Video, Action Movie FX, Time Lapse Camera HD, Movie Looks HD, Avid Studio, SloPro, FiLMiC Pro, TiltShift Video, and Scrolling Credits.

Helpful Online Tools

Masher is a fun, free, tool for creating video mash-ups. Masher offers large collection of video clips, music, and effects from their gallery. You can also add your own images, video clips, and music clips through the Masher uploader. Masher allows you to insert text throughout your video. Using Masher is simple: just drag elements from the media gallery into the timeline editor. From there, you can arrange the sequence of elements, and when you are ready, you can publish and share your production.

Animoto is great for quickly making simple videos by using still images, music, and text. If you can make a slideshow presentation, you can make a video using Animoto. Animoto’s free service limits you to 30-second videos. By applying for an educational account, you can create longer videos.

Stupeflix is a service that allows users to create video montages using their favorite images and audio clips. Stupeflix allows users to drag and drop their images into a desired sequence. You will want to upload your own audio clips as Stupeflix offers only one default soundtrack. But an advantage of Stupeflix is that it allows you to use more than one audio clip within the same video.

Photo Peach is a new service that allows you to easily create an audio slideshow, with captions, from images in your Flickr, Picassa, or Facebook account. You can also use images saved on your local hard drive to create a slideshow. Adding captions is easy: simply type the text into the caption box. Also, changing the order of images is a simple drag and drop procedure.

Xtra Normal is a unique service that enables students to create animated, narrated movies just by typing the dialogue then dragging and dropping characters and set elements into the movies. There are free and paid plans for using Xtra Normal, but the standard plan should be more than adequate for most academic uses.

If your class uses these ideas or resources for making video, we would love to hear about it. What ideas do you have about incorporating video in the classroom?


Tips to help your students get the most from Imagine Learning English

I recently asked Imagine Learning‘s director of training to share some of the challenges educators encounter that prevent their students from getting as much from Imagine Learning English as they could. I thought it would be instructive to share some of her observations and offer some tips that can help you overcome these roadblocks if you’re experiencing them too.

The most common issue she hears is that scheduling frequently makes it difficult to give students enough time in the lab. Often it’s a tough decision of limiting the student’s exposure to another subject in favor of increasing their literacy or second language acquisition time. While it may be obvious to a student’s classroom teacher that more time spent using the program would be beneficial, if your school has specials teachers, more coordination between instructors may be needed to determine what will best serve the child.

So how have other teachers addressed this challenge? Let me share two suggestions that have worked for many schools using Imagine Learning English. Read more »


Tips for making the most of the end of the year

Staying motivated through the end of the school yearIt’s that time again: the weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and students and teachers alike are looking forward to summer vacation. Such an atmosphere might make it difficult to stay motivated, but there’s no reason to coast until the end of the year. In a child’s education, every week counts. So how can you make sure that these last few weeks count for your students? Read on for some tips for helping both teachers and students stay motivated through the end of the school year. Read more »


Relief efforts in Japan: How to get your students involved

Students help with relief efforts in JapanOn March 11, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the eastern coast of Japan, causing mass destruction and a tsunami that devastated the country. Thousands were killed in the disaster, with thousands still missing. Such a terrible event has caused people all over the world to unite in hope, prayer, and relief efforts for the Japanese people.

Here at Imagine Learning, we’ve been collecting donations from employees to benefit the victims of the disaster, as many people are doing worldwide. But adults aren’t the only ones who have been participating in relief efforts for Japan. Hundreds of elementary schools, high schools, and school districts have been showing support and sending relief in many ways, whether it’s by raising money through bake sales or folding paper cranes as a symbol of hope and support. Read more »


A simple way to make writing more fun

“If we learned how to walk and talk the way we are taught how to read and write, everybody would limp and stutter.” — Mark Twain

If you’ve ever met children who are naturally expressive, you’ve probably listened to them easily talk about their lives, share their opinions, and tell their favorite stories.

But if you’ve ever asked children to write down the thoughts they just shared with you, you may have noticed something strange: a pencil and a sheet of paper can cause even the most naturally expressive children to freeze up or close off.

Why does writing affect so many children (and adults) like this? I believe it is because many of us take the writing process too seriously. It’s as if the words we write are forever chiseled in stone the moment the lead or ink hits the paper.

So what’s the solution?

Read more »