Category Archives: Videos

Storybooth

Storybooth is a website that gives students voice in a unique way.  Students who are registered can record stories and submit them.  The Storybooth team chooses submissions to animate and produce as videos with the original narration on the site.  It reminds me a bit of the StoryCorps animated videos – just designed for a younger audience.

As an elementary teacher, I would probably not assign my class to record personal narratives on Storybooth.  Instead, I see myself using some of the videos as a resource for inspirational stories to show my students.  I would urge you to choose carefully, as there is a wide range of topics from cyberbullying to dealing with getting your period for the first time.  If you are a secondary teacher, or a parent or educator who knows a particular student who has a story to tell, however, you might consider encouraging that child to make a submission.  Having your story chosen to be animated is surely a very validating experience!

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Advice from Storybooth on story submission possibilities

Below is an example of one Storybooth video that I think would be valuable to show students of any age.  If you are doing a lesson on Growth Mindset, friendship, or empathy, “I Wish I Was Invisible” would fit right in.

For more videos, visit the Storybooth website, or you can also check my Pinterest Board of Inspirational Videos for Students.

Be the Last to Speak

Teachers talk too much.  Even though I am aware of that, I still find myself speaking more than I should in the classroom.  I think that I am better than I was 20-something years ago when I first started teaching – but I definitely want to improve in this area.  The great Simon Sinek (author, consultant, and motivational speaker) gives advice about this in the attached video.  Even though Sinek is speaking in a business context, many top educators like Jo Boaler would certainly agree that teachers should be included in the group of leaders who would benefit from this following this guideline.  Instead of complaining that our students are too lazy to problem-solve, we need to ask ourselves how often we actually give them the opportunity to do their own thinking.

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image of Simon Sinek from http://www.amc.af.mil

For more inspirational videos for teachers, here is my Pinterest Board.  I also have one for students (some videos are on both boards).

How About Them Apples?

Monday at ISTE began with me frantically trying to find my first session in the San Antonio Convention Center (not an easy place to navigate – especially for those of us who are spatially challenged), only to discover that I needed a ticket to enter.  Fortunately, it was the one Apple morning session that wasn’t full, so I boomeranged between the usher at the entrance and the ticket stand with admirable speed and found myself one of the last people to be welcomed into a hands-on session centered on Apple’s Swift Playgrounds app.

You may recall that I wrote about the iOS Swift  playgrounds app when it first entered the scene, and I wasn’t all that impressed.  It has had four or five updates since then, and there are definitely some areas of great improvement.

I still stand by my original assertion that students need to be pretty adept readers to take advantage of the app, and I wouldn’t use it with students with lower than a 4th grade reading level.  However, the new “Accessories” tab that allows it to be used to control multiple hardware devices may be a game-changer.  For example, my students could now control Lego EV3, Dash Robots, and Sphero, among other robots, using Swift Playgrounds.  The advantage of this over other apps, such as Tickle, is that students will be switching from introductory block programming to more widely used line/text programming.  There are plenty of tutorials within the app to ease this transition.

Another feature that I like about Swift Playgrounds is that it offers a recording function, so students can work on a tutorial and submit recordings of their solutions to the teacher as a reflection. You can also take pictures of your screen within the app, and export the code to PDF. There are hints within the tutorials, but later levels require that you put a little effort into solving the coding puzzles before you can receive any help.  The app is definitely worth looking into if you are an educator working with students who already have some programming experience and are looking for the next step.  Curriculum resources are available here.

My second session also happened to be sponsored by Apple (no ticket required for this one).  In this session, we learned about Apple Clips, which is a video editing app that may eventually replace iMovie.  This app is optimized for mobile use, as well as social media, and it is clear there was a lot of thought put into its development.   Just like iMovie, Clips allows you to take video, edit it, and add music.  But Clips has taken a lot of the manual labor out of video creation.  Music is automatically edited with intros and outros to fit your clips.  Cropping and “Ken Burns-ing” easily become seamless portions of your video, and you can add layers, effects, and titles with taps of the finger.  One of my favorite features is the “live titles.”  This basically allows you to create a closed-captions for your video – adding text to the video as you record in real time.  The text is aligned to the actual timing of your speech, so if you pause, so does the text.  You can also easily edit the text if your words aren’t interpreted the way you intended.

Clips looks great.  Designed for this generation of “on-the-fly” videographers, it could be the ideal tool.  However, I have heard from a few people and read in some reviews that it can be glitchy.  I have not experienced any issues myself, but I was disappointed when my somewhat older classroom iPad was deemed too ancient to be “compatible with this app.”  Like many new products, Clips may need to age a bit (but maybe not as much as my unfortunate iPad) before it takes off, but I’m ready to give it a try.

For some examples of ways that Clips has been used in schools, check out #classroomclips on Twitter.

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Cogs

I love visiting the Kuriositas blog for unusual stories about animals, vivid descriptions of places all over the world, and their incredible video picks.  Yesterday, I discovered the short video, Cogs, on their site.  Directed by Laurent Witz for AIME (an organization dedicated to education equality), Cogs is one of those small packages that deliver a huge gift. In this gorgeous animation, a world is shown that is ruled by a factory that produces only two kinds of people – and they can only travel on their separate tracks.  It is a sad, but unfortunately very appropriate, metaphor for the world’s drastically restrained and disparate educational systems. The film has a hauntingly beautiful theme sung by Mariot Pejon, and composed by Olivier Defradat.  In less than three minutes, we experience melancholy that gradually evolves into hope.  It is a wonderful inspiration to all of us who believe that every child should receive a quality education.

I will be adding this to my Inspirational Videos for Teachers collection on Pinterest.

Change the World

Class Dojo Mindfulness Series

The Class Dojo “Big Ideas” series is growing.  Up until now you could find videos on: Perseverance, Growth Mindset, Empathy, and Gratitude.  The latest theme is, “Mindfulness.”  So far, only the first video has been released.  In the past, the schedule has been to publish one per week.  As with the other videos, there are discussion questions to use after viewing the short video.  There is an also an option to share the video through “Class Story” with parents.  The first video is a timely one for me as my students are currently practicing presentations of their Genius Hour research.  I’m kind of curious to find out how Mojo solves his problem of “The Beast,” one that I grapple with quite a bit!

By the way, you can find more Growth Mindset videos and resources here.

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Screen Shot from Class Dojo’s “Big Ideas” page

Original Thinkers

“Original Thinkers” is a fascinating TED Talk by Adam Grant, author of Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.  “The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most – because they are the ones who try the most,” according to Grant.  Using the story of his own failure to invest in a new company that would later become incredibly successful, Adam Grant describes the misconceptions we have about original thinkers, how procrastination can lead to great ideas, and even how the web browsers we use can reveal the inherent creativity in our personalities.

I discovered “Original Thinkers” when I was browsing through the “TED Collections”  section of the Mensa for Kids website.  This page includes 21 links to TED Talk videos and excellent discussion questions and extensions for each one.  I highly recommend you take a look at these fascinating options, as I am sure you will find something that will be of interest to you and your students.  As always, preview the videos before showing them to your class.  (“Original Thinkers” does have the word, “crap” in it – which may or may not be inappropriate for your particular audience.) . I will be adding this to my Inspirational Videos for Kids Pinterest Board, where you can also find many great video resources.

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Screen Shot from Original Thinkers TED Talk by Adam Grant, showing how different amounts of procrastination affect creativity

Using Video Clips

Sometimes a video is just too long.  Or, maybe only part of the video is really applicable to a lesson.  I recently ran across a couple of options that can help you when you need something short, but powerful, to show your class.

The first option is called, “Class Hook.”  Unfortunately, this site may be blocked in your district. (It is blocked in mine.)  If it isn’t, then you may want to search the site by topic for short clips from all kinds of videos that might make the statement you need.  The library seems to be fairly large.  You can search by subject, show, subject, or grade level. When you choose a clip, it will list Common Core connections.  As always, preview videos before showing them to your class to be certain they are appropriate for the students you teach.

The second option will take a bit more time, but works well for videos you have already found on YouTube if you are using them in Google Slides.  You can copy the YouTube link for the original video, then go to Insert-Video in Google Slides.  Once the video is on a slide, you can then click on “Video Options” to choose the part that you would like to show in your presentation. (If you don’t see “Video Options in your toolbar, click on “More” to display it.)

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If you are not using Google Slides, or it doesn’t seem to be cooperating with you, there is a third option.  One of my students wanted to show part of a TED video for his Genius Hour presentation, and Google Slides would not embed the short clip we kept inserting from YouTube. (When you click on “Share” in YouTube, you can choose an option for where the video should start, but the link generated did not work in Google Slides for us.)  There are, of course, many options for downloading YouTube videos to edit – but quite a few are unreliable, costly, or unsafe for your computer.  I was frustrated with how to help my student – and then I remembered EdPuzzle.

EdPuzzle is a free tool for creating “interactive” videos.  You can assign video clips with questions, record over the video, and keep track of student progress.  You can learn more about EdPuzzle’s features in this nice presentation from Travis K. Wood.  The option that saved a couple of Genius Hour presentations for us this year, though, is that videos can be “cropped.”  You can choose a specific ending and beginning of the video that you have imported, and then share the link of that newly cropped video.  Although Google Slides does not allow for us to actually embed the cropped video into a slide, we can include the link and go directly to the video that imparts the relevant information.

Let me know if you are aware of any other easy way to find and/or create video clips for class!

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