Tag Archives: literacy

Digital Storytelling with Animated Powerpoint – 100,000 Youtube Views and Counting!

4 Mar

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!

Click to view student-created example!

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!
-Nancye

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.

The Concept:
Illustrate and animate a narrative using custom animations and timers in PowerPoint or comparable presentation software

The Applications:
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.”

The Hows:
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.

TIPS:

  • 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!
Full Video
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

Transforming Students to Authors: National Novel Writing Month (#nanowrimo) starts today!

1 Nov

In my eight years of teaching, rarely had I encountered a project that gave students as much ownership and motivation as the Young Writers Program for National Novel Writing Month…  Or as lovingly referred to by its participants, NaNoWriMoYWP.

Today commences the 2012 month of novel writing.  Students around the world are choosing a personal word count goal and launching on an adventure to tell a long narrative tale by November 30th.

Not only does this project significantly boost the quality of student writing through hours of deliberate practice and give amazing opportunities for powerful writing mini-lessons that students can immediately put into practice, but NaNoWriMoYWP also provides an appropriate learning environment for demonstrating  to students the power of setting and working toward a challenging goal.  Completing one’s first novel at the age of 8, 12 or 16 is something that belongs wholly to that student and can never be taken away.  It represents a lifelong transformation from writing student to author.   The message of empowerment is undeniable.

NaNoWriMoYWP Planning Sheet

Click to download .pdf version.

So, I encourage you to take join my students, colleagues, friends, writers around the globe and me in taking the NaNoWriMo challenge in 2012.  Just because it is November 1, doesn’t mean it is too late to jump in. In fact, I am attaching a .pdf adapted from NaNoWriMo materials that can help you shortcut your planning time, turn your ideas into a true story concept and even connect with other NaNoWriMo-ers.  Plus, this month, I will be continuing to share writing resources, tips and student stories to keep your writers engaged and motivated along the way.

So, take the challenge yourself, integrate the program into your reading and writing instruction over the next month, or at least send a Twitter message to the many students on their way to becoming authors!

Let the novel writing begin!

“NaNoWriMo – I am an Author” – Video
NaNoWriMo - _I am an Author_ - YouTube

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read more about our 2011 NaNoWriMo experience!

7 Ways Technology Can Enhance Your World Read Aloud Day Celebration

2 Mar

With World Read Aloud Day just around the corner, it’s not too late to use your technological resources to enhance your celebration and bring reading to life for your students. Here are seven ways to do just that!

1. Guest Readers & Audiences – Using Skype, iChat, Facetime or other applications, classes can bring in virtual guest readers. Guest readers come in all shapes and sizes. LitWorld and Kate Messner both provided a list of published authors who are willing to Skype with students on WRAD, which you can find at
LitWorld.org/WorldReadAloudDayChats
KateMessner.com/skype-with-an-author-on-world-read-aloud-day-2012
Yet, guest readers can also be students’ parents or grandparents, volunteers from local businesses or organizations, or even students and teachers at other schools. If you would like to connect with other educators who are interested in Skyping for WRAD, visit this wiki created by John Schu and Shannon Miller – ChangeTheWorldStoryByStory.wikispaces.com/Skype+Schedules+and+Projects.
By the way, don’t miss out on the opportunity to allow your own students to serve as the Guest Readers for other classes or schools as well!

2. Podcasting – Get your students excited about reading by using voice-recording applications to record themselves reading aloud. Vocaroo.com or the Voice Memos app on various iDevices are simple ways to implement this… or use a more robust program like Audacity, Aviary or Garageband, which would even allow students to add mood music or sound effects to their productions. Play these finished masterpieces for the class or publish them online to share with others!

3. Talking Avatars – Using the voice recording function at Voki.com, students can use their voices to create an avatar that can read aloud to the class. Whether Abraham Lincoln is reading the Gettysburg Address or a cat is reading Carl Sandburg’s famous Fog poem, this activity will delight students of all ages.
Bonus: Students can read their own poems and compositions aloud as well! Check out this elementary Voki project by Samantha Lewis that promotes literacy and writing through Dr. Seuss inspired rhyming poems.

4. VoicethreadVoicethread is a dynamic digital media tool that will allow your students to write or record comments. For World Read Aloud Day, create a Voicethread with slides for various figures of speech or genres and allow your students to read aloud to audio or video record examples that they discover in literary works. (Learn more about this tool’s potential at Voicethread.com.)

5. Digital Storytelling – To celebrate both reading and writing, consider allowing the students to create Digital Storybooks using the Web 2.0 application, Little Bird Tales. This application allows students to compose a written piece, draw original illustrations and record themselves reading the book aloud. Best of all, they are easy to share with the class, e-mail to parents or paste on your class website.

6. Puppet Shows or Reader’s Theater – Lights! Camera! Action! Bring reading to life with a little drama! Use your document camera to create live or recorded Read Alouds of Reader’s Theater or other works with engaging images of student-created popsicle stick avatars, finger puppets or other manipulatives. For example, read Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar with a large popsicle stick avatar of the caterpillar and real versions of the red apple, two green pears, a cupcake, a single leaf and more.

7. Video Book Reviews – Students can use a webcam, Flipcam or Doc Cam to record a review of a favorite book, including sharing illustrations and reading their favorites passages aloud.
Bonus: Upload these video book reviews online and connect their URLs to QR codes (qrcode.kaywa.com) that can be printed and affixed to the cover of the book for other students to watch throughout the school year!

Using Technology, you can easily use your World Read Aloud Day event to ignite a passion for reading in your students and allow it to spread far beyond your classroom walls.

World Read Aloud Day takes place on Wednesday, March 7th. For more ideas, activities resources, visit LitWorld.org/WorldReadAloudDayActivities. You can even download their original picture book, New Day, New Friends, to share with your class!

World Read Aloud Day 2012

27 Feb

The countdown has begun… Only nine more days until the 2012 World Read Aloud Day!

Sponsored by LitWorld, World Read Aloud Day is “about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.” (via LitWorld.org)

So, how can you participate?

First, register your class at LitWorld.org to participate as part of this amazing global event to promote literacy.

Second, plan Read Aloud activities for your class or school, whether students are reading their own writing aloud, inviting a guest reader, or using technology to connect your readers. (Check back for WRAD 2012: Part 2 this week for a great list of class WRAD activities!)

Third, consider contacting an author to Skype with your students.
– LitWorld has partnered with dozens of authors who are excited to read and share with your classes on March 7th. That list can be found at http://litworld.org/worldreadalouddaychats.
– Author, Kate Messner, shares a list of authors who may be willing to Skype with your students at http://www.katemessner.com/skype-with-an-author-on-world-read-aloud-day-2012.

World Read Aloud Day 2012 will be a powerful opportunity to get your students excited about reading… and celebrate their place in the global learning community. So, what are you and your students going to do to participate??

Keep checking back this week for further resources for World Read Aloud Day (3/7)
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Tech Spark: Holiday Poetry Greeting Cards

15 Dec

Need an educational, yet fun, elementary or middle school activity to get you through the last days of school before the holidays? Try making greeting cards with original student poetry inside.

Students can create folded cards by hand, drawing images or adding pictures cut from magazines or holiday newspaper ads. For a technological spin, use the templates in Microsoft Publisher or Microsoft Word, allowing students to add their own personal message and customizing clip art.

Once you have the basic greeting card, it’s time to add the original poem. In this case, I recommend a Diamante poem. They are simple to create and enable a great review of parts of speech during a creative activity. Since the students are able to choose their own topics, it is easy to diversify this activity for students who celebrate various winter holidays, or even for those that do not celebrate holidays. Some topics that have worked well for our students are: Snow, Christmas, Santa, Family, and Love.

To instruct the students in composing their Diamante, use one of the following technology resources while students are synchronously composing their own pieces:

 

-       Use the Diamante interactive poetry creator at readwritethink.org, projecting the live composition of a collaborative poem.

-       Use your Document Camera to project a live collaborative composition, systematically working through each line. This method can be enhanced by using a different color to represent each unique part of speech represented in the poem (as shown in the picture to the right). Additionally, encourage students to use prediction to guess what type of line should follow to complete the diamond.

Here are a few samples, created by third graders at McKeel Elementary Academy.