Make Videos in a Snap with Animoto

kindergarten Halloween art

Halloween Art

The videos shown here were created in a snap using the Animoto app. After photographing stacks of kindergarten art, I simply opened the application on my iPhone, selected the photos, a theme, and music.  Within minutes, both videos were ready for viewing. I later visited the site on my desktop computer to add our school’s logo and then shared the videos directly to our school’s Facebook account. And, just like that, the Freaky Halloween Faces made their debut.

Mrs. McConnell’s Kinder Class

Mrs. Passmore’s Kinder Class

Google Slides and Dot Day

Over the past few weeks, students in grades 2-6 have used Google Slides to create artwork for Dot Day, which is celebrated around September 15th-ish.  Working with Google Slides requires students to log into their computer, navigate to Google Classroom, select the correct class (computer lab), and then scroll to reach and open their assignment. When their project is completed, students go to their file menu and download their slide as a png (portable network graphic). Once downloaded to their computer, students open a second tab and navigate to a collaborative digital canvas at Padlet. This helps students  practice working with two web pages at once and an opportunity to bookmark the site. Students use Padlet’s add button to upload their image and add text. This gives students an opportunity to practice their digital citizenships skills and a chance to use technology tools to enhance their learning. Many students continue to use Slides for their own art, polishing their production skills. The video shown below highlights many of the skills used.

Fite’s First Graders

Mrs. Fite’s first-graders recently completed portraits to illustrate emotions. I photographed their artwork using my iPhone and uploaded the photos via the Animoto app. Once the upload was complete, I edited the video by re-arranging the portraits, adding text, selecting music and a theme. Animoto makes creating video slideshows a breeze. I hope you enjoy the result shown below.

The CRES Class Tweeter Board

Are you interested in giving your students Twitter-like capabilities?  I recently came across this lesson concept from Tammy Worcester, outlining the steps necessary to create a class Tweeter Board, giving students an opportunity to compose 140 character responses. Click here to reach Tammy’s lesson plan.

My students will access the student form as an assignment in Google Classroom and will mark their work “DONE” when completed. Shown below is an example of how the sheet will appear to the teacher as tweets are collected. The teacher is given the option to moderate responses by simply typing a Y into the yellow box during lesson set up. I’ll repost examples of student responses toward the end of September.

example of the tweeter form

Shown below is the student view of the Tweeter Board as viewed in a Google Form.

Google Form view

If students write more than 140 characters, the message area will turn red as shown below, and the message can’t be submitted.

example of a 144 character tweet

Students who successfully post to the CRES Tweeter Message Board will earn the digital badge shown below.  I’ll reveal the claim code to students earning the badge. Students with the claim code will access the badge at Credly.  I can also send the badge directly to students via Google Classroom.

Tweeter digital badge






#TweeterBoard #Twitter #TammyWorcesterTang

Building Circuits in the Elementary Classroom

Thanks to a grant for $2500, our school was able to purchase some LittleBits Premium and Synth kits. Some students worked with the Premium Kit, familiarizing themselves with the different components, making the Hypnotizing Wheel and Auto Greeter. The other group used the Synth Kit to create their own music. All students culminated their activities by partnering up to build the Bubble Flute, which used 3 components (power, sound trigger, fan) from the Premium Kit.

#LittleBits #circuits #synth kit

Building a Squishy Battery

Students build a giant Squishy Battery.

Students build a giant Squishy Battery.

In a this after school class, students used their basic electrical concepts to build a Squishy Circuit. This particular circuit required students to build small cubes of conductive dough, bridging them between insulating layers of dough. As the circuit grew, so did voltage.  Students bridged each cube of conductive dough with a galvanized nail and copper wire, jumping over the non-conductive slices. A meter was used to measure the slowly increasing voltage.

You can learn more about Squishy Circuits by viewing the video below.


#SquishyCircuits #ElectricalProjects

3D Printing with the MOD-t 3D Printer

Mattel's ThingMaker 3D printer

Mattel’s ThingMaker 3D Printer

Manufacturers of 3D printers have now realized the best venue for 3D printers is in the field of education. Currently, New Matter, the manufacturer of the Mod-t 3D, is offering its printer for $300. New Matter offers the Educator Starter Bundle, which includes 5 Mod-t printers, 30 filaments in a variety of colors, 15 print surface plates, a teaching guide, free lesson plans, and unlimited live support. The Mod-t looks to be an affordable choice for schools. The video shown below demonstrates the printing process from start to finish. Also on the horizon is Mattel’s ThingMaker, now scheduled for 2017.

#Mod-t #3Dprinting #ThingMaker #NewMatter

The Flipped Classroom.

I’m currently enrolled in another class through HP Catalyst Academy called Flipping Your Class: An Analytics-Based Approach.  The course includes a discussion of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Many educators may know that Creating is at the top of the pyramid.  Lorin Anderson has flipped that model to emphasize how important creating is for today’s digital students.  You can read more at her blog:

Bloom's Taxonomy, inverted, to illustrate how important "Creating" is for 21st Century Students.

Bloom’s Taxonomy, inverted, to illustrate how important “Creating” is for 21st Century Students.

Her blog post discusses how Bloom’s has usually been organized: “a pyramid suggests that one cannot effectively begin to address higher levels of thinking until those below them have been thoroughly addressed. Consequently (at least in the view of many teachers who learned the taxonomy as part of their college training) Blooms becomes a “step pyramid” that one must arduously try to climb with your learners. Only the most academically adept are likely to reach the pinnacle.” After reading her post, it validated my desire to teach at the top of the pyramid, promoting creativity and collaboration. I agree: too much time spent at the basement of Bloom’s does little to facilitate higher order thinking skills.

Flatland, the Movie, A Mathematical Adventure

I just purchased this movie.  It runs about 30 minutes and teaches kids about the difference between 2 and 3 dimensions.  The visual animation is very creative. Here’s the premise:

Flatland: The Movie is an animated film inspired by Edwin A. Abbott’s classic novel, Flatland. Set in a world of only two dimensions inhabited by sentient geometrical shapes, the story follows Arthur Square and his ever-curious granddaughter Hex. When a mysterious visitor arrives from Spaceland, Arthur and Hex must come to terms with the truth of the third dimension, risking dire consequences from the evil Circles that have ruled Flatland for a thousand years.

View the trailer 

Link to purchase video