The Battle of the Timelines “Timetoast vs. Xtimeline”

timeline

This past week I had my students use one of the following timeline creators,(Timetoast, Xtimeline) to discuss the major events leading up to the Declaration of Independence. Since both of these tools are free and simple to use I thought that they would be a great fit for my class.

Both tools required no instruction to use and my students found them easy to navigate. They do require the latest flash player and an updated web browser. As my students progressed with these tools I did notice that not having a spell checker was an issue. Since nothing was underlined red they assumed everything was spelled correctly, which was not the case. But as far as use and functionality they both seemed to work well for my students.

From a teachers perspective I found that timetoast was a bit friendlier to use. Timetoast has a text view option that allows you to see all of the content for each date so that you do not need to click on each event to read the student material. This was really helpful and saved time in the grading process.

Check both of these tools at the following addresses:

Here is a link to a previous post on “14 Ways For Students To Create Timeline

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10 Free Video Editors

Free Video Editors

youtube

Image by Sean MacEntee via Flickr

Over the course of the year I have been looking for a simple free video editors that I can use with my students. In the process of reviewing the many different options I decide to post my results to save everyone the time looking at the variety of options out there.

If you know of any others please let me know and I will post them here as well.

Free Video Editors: Editors that are free to users.

  1. Animoto Easy to use and creates great looking videos. Students have really enjoyed this application. However, you can only create 30 second videos for free and you are limited in editing in the free version. You must register to use the free version as well. Animoto will provide educators with a free code to allow their students to create full length videos for FREE for 6 months otherwise this application only has free 30 second videos.
  2. One True Media Easy to use and creates nice looking videos. Charges for anything more than 30 seconds and limited to 15 minute of finished video per month. Must register to use free portions of this application. They do have a mobile app for the pay version. This application only has free 30 second videos.
  3. Flixtime This site also is easy to use and you are able to create 60 second videos. However you have limited resources and are unable to add transition, voice and create HD videos. This application only has free 60 second videos and are limited in effects.
  4. YouTube This editor allows you to do the basic editing effects to videos upload to YouTube. You can add text, audio and voice, transitions, trim clips and combine YouTube videos. You must have a YoutTube account. Difficult to use ion schools since it is often blocked. This application is FREE!
  5. Stroome.com Easy to use video editor. Allows you all of the basic video editing features and share with many different social networks but does not provide ability to download file or upload to YouTube. This is a free application.
  6. Creaza This is a free editor and allows you to upload directly to YouTube. As far as I can tell there is no real limitation to the free version however if you upload your video to YouTube using the free video it will place a Creaza logo in the lower right corner. This is a limited free application.
  7. Masher Very simple and easy to use video editor. Has a good collection of videos to use from the BBC. Easy to add and edit with the basic features. Can embed videos and email but can not upload to YouTube or download them. This is a Free Site at this time.
  8. Stupeflix This is a great web-based editor. Simple to use and has many options that are easy to apply to your videos. It even includes an option to integrate to your webcam. This site offers free one minute video. This is a partially free website.
  9. FileLab This site allows you to edit video and audio and share them on the web. This is a free site and quite simple to use. Can only be used on a Windows machine.
  10. Magisto Simple free video editor. It has limited transition and effects but is very simple and organized well. Does a lot of the editing and transitions for you.

For more information of video editors and other resources check out my video project resource page at the following link. Click Here

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Automatically Grade Your Google Documents

I ran across Flubaroo about two moths ago. Since then I have been meaning to give it a try and finally did. This is a great little tool for grading tests or assignments in Google docs. It is very simple to use and does an excellent job in providing feedback on your assignment or test results. The fact that it is a free application makes it even better. Watch the short video below on this application and check it out at Flubaroo  http://www.flubaroo.com/flubaroo-user-guide

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3 Great Movie Clip Websites to Gain Student Attention

With spring break behind us and summer right around the corner the natives are becoming restless. This new excitement in the air can be difficult to deal with at times in the classroom. This is why I have found that adding movie clips from popular films to my entry tasks to be very effective in gaining students attention. These short 1-2 minute video clips seem to calm them down and get them thinking. Once this happens I then can steer them into the topic that we are going to cover in class.

So where can you find these types of video clips? If you know movies well you can look up clips on Youtube and other video hosting websites like Vimeo. If you don’t know movies that well or you can not think of one to meet the needs of your lesson try one of the following three websites.  These sites will allow you to search movies by topic, mood, genre, time period, event, plot and other criteria.  Making it easy to find the clip you need to fit your lesson plan.

  1. This site will allow you to search for movie clips on a specific topic that you are going to cover in class. This is the best site for finding topic specific movie clips for your classroom.  Click here to go to MovieClips
  2. Jinni is like MovieClips and allows you to search movies by mood, plot, genre, time period, place etc.  Click here to go to Jinni.
  3. Anyclip is another video hosting site that you can search for movie clips to use in your classroom. However, this site you need to know movies it does not provide the easy search options found on the other two sites.
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Video Editing & Collaborative Learning WOW!

Wow, today was one of those Ah-Ha moment days for me.  I had recently decided to have my students create a simple 30 second promotional video.  My intent was to create some awareness for upcoming events in our school and to expose my students to the basics of making a good video.

As I expected when I asked my students who knew how edit video using imovie, Windows Movie Maker and Adobe Premiere Elements only one or two students raised their hands. So my plan was to sit them down and walk them through how to use all three software applications.  I decided that I would use students to demonstrate how to do basic tasks in each application and I would utilize the Promethean Whiteboard so all students could see the demonstration.

Moments after I began something amazing began to take place.  The students began working as a collaborative unit.  Students began assisting the group up front and with-in a couple of minutes I became obsolete.  As I faded into the background I was amazed at how quickly and efficiently the students began to teach each other how to use the video editing programs. This immediately made me think that my plan would have just slowed them down and possibly confused them.  The examples and analogies that they used were amazing and highly effective.  I quickly found myself in the role of coach/facilitator, not teacher and the lesson was highly successful.  By the end of the period all of the groups had chosen an application to use and were editing video.  I was left thinking WOW, I have got to figure out how to utilize that type of learning again!

Below is a small video clip of my students in action during this lesson.

20 Student Favorite Cartoon Creators

As I watched Tom Wujec’s TED talk today I was struck by the simplicity of his message. All teachers know that a good visual is key to success in the classroom. But what really intrigued me was the concept of students creating visuals to cement their learning. Over the past two years I have noticed that students who create visual projects in my class often retain information better than those who wrote papers.

In my project based classroom one of the most popular mediums for students projects has become cartoon creators. Not only do students enjoy creating these projects but the the process of taking their knowledge and depicting it visually on paper seems to be very effective in their learning process. I have often talked to students about one of their projects that they created at the beginning of the year and not only can they tell me about the project but they still remember the underlying concept taught at that time. This has always intrigued me and led me to create a long list of cartoon creators for students to use.

For those of you interested in giving this a try here are 20 of the most popular cartoon creators my students like to use.

  1. GoAnimate.com
  2. Toonlet.com
  3. Toondoo.com
  4. Pixton.com
  5. Chogger
  6. Comic Creator
  7. Comic Lab
  8. Make Believe Comix
  9. Strip Creator
  10. Strip Generator
  11. Zimmer Twins
  12. Do Ink
  13. Comic Strip Generator
  14. Comic Master
  15. Captain Underpants
  16. Comicbrush
  17. Marvel Comic Creator
  18. Witty Comic Creator
  19. Cartoon to Customize
  20. Bitstrips

14 Student Favorite Project Websites

Over the past two years my students have been allowed to create their projects in any format or medium in which they choose.  This had led to some amazing and creative projects that have not only inspired me but opened my eyes to what my students are truly capable of creating. I have noticed however that there seems to be certain sites and programs that they gravitate to every year.  So the following list, are sites that my students seem to use at some point every year and really seem to enjoy.

  1. Glogster: is always a fan favorite since they can add music video and images all in one project.  This virtual poster site is always one that I see multiple times a year.
  2. Photo Story 3: has become a big hit over the past year and a half.  This is a simple video creator that allows students to take a series of images place them in any order and then narrate each image and/or add text to each image. It then generates a movie adding in transitions and panning automatically to the video.  It is simple and creates great short informational videos. They do also have a mac version.
  3. Museum Box: This is a great site for history classes.  Students place items in a box that would help describe a person or event. They can add video, audio, images and text.  This site has led to some great projects.
  4. Goanimate: takes a bit of learning but is a animated video creator that students love to create their projects with.  It generates great animated cartoons that my students have used to explain many different historical events.
  5. Google Search Stories: is a great video creator for quick informational video clips.  It uses the Google search engine and results to tell a story or explain and event.
  6. Picture A Story: allows students to tell stories about history, explain topics or concepts using preloaded images characters and objects.
  7. Flixtime: Is another video creator that allows students to take a series of images ad create great videos to explain concepts or historical events.
  8. Poster 4 Teachers: Is a free program that allows students to create online projects and reports in a poster format.  It also allows them to create simple websites to explain or discuss topics presented in class.
  9. Slideroll: This site allows kids to create simple slide shows to tell a digital story.
  10. Animoto: This site allows students o create professional looking videos projects.  This site is easy and fun for students to use.
  11. Alice.Org:  A animated story creator. That also teaches programming. I have had a few students really get into programming after using this application.
  12. Digital Story Teller: This is similar to Photo Story 3 students can add text and audio to their digital stories.
  13. Kerpoof: Always a favorite site for students to create movies and other digital media.
  14. Fotobabble: This is really a card creator but students have used it in a variety of ways to narrate  a digital story and have used it a segment in other digital projects.