In 2011, some of you were there with me when I gave my first conference presentations to standing room only crowds at both FETC in Orlando, FL and in Philadelphia at the ISTE Conference. The presentation was titled “Elementary Media Projects You Have to See to Believe!” and it never failed to live up to the hype. With innovative project ideas and inspirational student work samples, student-created media was (and is) one of my favorite things to speak on. It’s truly incredible what even our youngest students can do!
One of the most popular projects from that presentation was the use of animations in PowerPoint to create digital storybooks that played like an animated movie. This type of project supports reading, writing, fluency and editing. It helps students to think and write with all of their senses and to experiment with various concepts of spatial thinking. Plus, it actually serves as a great precursor to computer programming through the use of strategic design thinking in executing both linear and parallel animation sequences to accomplish different visual effects. And the kids just love it!
To support my own students, as well as the other students and teachers who started experimenting with this type of project, I created a set of tutorial videos that walk through each step of the process. I then hosted them on YouTube so that teachers could embed the tutorial videos into their own school and class websites to share with their students. Since then, countless numbers of student created projects have followed…. along with this week’s 100,000 viewer milestone for the full tutorial on YouTube!
I wanted to share this momentous milestone with each of you who have used and shared these resources. Your efforts to give your students voice and purpose are commendable… and it has brought me great pleasure to provide this and other resources to the incredible ed-tech community over the last few years!
And if you are new to this idea, below you can find the video and some information about using it in class. You can also learn more about innovative ways to use PowerPoint and other student media creation tools in the Interactive Student-Created Digital Media Portal in the site’s Resources.
Happy creating, learning, and teaching!
Creating with Animated PowerPoints
Kids love illustrating their stories. Using clip art in PowerPoint is a great way to allow our young students to create complex illustrations for their writing and stories without depending on their ability to draw them. And the best part? When they’re all done, these animated storybooks actually play like a movie.
Illustrate and animate a narrative using custom animations and timers in PowerPoint or comparable presentation software
Creative Writing – Identifying Setting & Characters, Plot, Sequencing, Character Development, Dialogue, Voice
Math – Real World Problem Solving, Geometric Transformations, Equivalent Fractions
Demonstrate Scientific Concepts – Virtual Experiments, Revolution of the Planets, Water Cycle
Social Studies Concepts – Election Process, Teeth Care/Dentist, People in my Neighborhood
*Students can complete a whole story or documentary on their own or each student make one slide to combine into a class “video.”
Prerequisite skills: Decent spelling ability (clip art searches must be spelled correctly), Familiarity with the basics of PowerPoint (text boxes, clip art, transitions)
- The Storyboard – Before beginning to create the animated illustrations, students should either write their rough/final drafts of their story or voice overs… or at least have a decent flow map story board or what happens in each scene.
- Create slides using the following tutorial video. You can also embed this video into your own teacher website to use with your students.
- Have students save their work often. At least once every ten minutes.
This video and/or the step-by-step tutorials below can be linked/embedded into your class or school website.
- Inserting clipart – All backgrounds and clipart should be inserted as movable objects. Objects that come in and out of the scene can be placed outside of the slide. Also, let students use creative problem solving to “crop” clip art to get one piece of a larger picture.
- Custom Animations – When creating the animations, instead of using “after previous,” set all animations to happen at the same time and then use the time delay to make them happen over the span of the slide. If you don’t do this, the animations won’t run at the same time as the narration after they are recorded.
Visit our class website to see several more samples, like:
A Retelling of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” by a 4th Grader
Animated Commercial integrating Excel Graph by a 3rd Grader
Science Experiment Demo
And for some mind-blowing inspiration, check out some of the work at the PowerPoint Heaven website!
Video Tutorials – To use with your students or embed into your own site!
Part 1: Intro & Samples
Part 2: Getting Started: Background and Clip Art
Part 3: Adding Custom Animations
Part 4: Adding Text
Part 5: Recording Narration
Part 6: Setting Automatic Timers