Tag Archives: videos

Powtoon for Educators

I had to search my own blog to find the last time I posted about Powtoon.  It was two years ago!  They have come a long way since then!

Powtoon is a fun way to present, allowing you all kinds of dynamic tools that will keep your viewers engaged.

The company recently launched a major campaign for educators offering free classroom accounts.  These accounts are usually $96/year, and you can add 60 students to your account!  The offer expires on October 31, 2014 – so be sure to activate yours soon!

Powtoon Educator Offer

A lot of resources have been added to the Powtoon library since the last time I reviewed it.  For example, when you go to your Dashboard, and choose to create, you will find that there are many templates that you can use .  These templates are fun; there’s even a “Teacher Intro” one!  I took that one, made a couple of minor changes, and had the one embedded below finished in under 5 minutes.

With all of my talk about creativity this week, Powtoon certainly fits the theme.  Imagine what your students could do with this great tool!

In a World…

UPDATE: As of 10/29/14, I was informed that this app is no longer available in the US app store.  I don’t know if it is available elsewhere, but would appreciate anyone letting me know if you find it or if it becomes available again!

A couple of weeks ago, Apps Gone Free offered an app called, “In a World… Drama.”  I downloaded it, and then spent the next hour goofing around with it.

Unfortunately, the app is no longer free.  You can get the one I have for $1.99, or you can get plain old “In a World” (not the drama version) for .99.  I’m not sure of the differences – other than the one that I have is rated for ages 12+ and the other one is rated for ages 4+. (If you purchase the .99 version, you can then add the Drama and Comedy ones in-app for .99 each.)

This app allows you to create movie trailers.  The advantage of this app over iMovie and other video creation tools is that it comes with Jonathan Cook voice overs to add to the trailer.  That ubiquitous voice that seems to be behind every movie preview ever produced can now be added to one of your own creation.

Of course, you can’t make the voice say whatever you want.  (But wouldn’t that be great!) However, you do get to choose from many, many phrases.  Each stage of the trailer creation gives you more options.   You can also add your own photos and/or video.  There are several sound track offerings, or you can choose from the music on your iDevice.

screen from "In a World...Drama" app
screen from “In a World…Drama” app

As a teacher, I can see many uses for this, including to create “hooks” in the classroom to introduce a topic.  It would also be great for creative writing.  Students would have a blast with this as well – but be aware of the age recommendations.

This is an app that certainly lends itself to app smashing.  You can smash your completed video with other apps, such as iMovie. Or, you can create content in other apps to be included in your movie trailer.

The videos can be edited after you are finished.  This is helpful because I felt like I needed to determine what was going to be said before I found the images to go along with my project.

Once you are finished, you can upload the video to your camera roll, or even Vine or Instagram.

I was torn between making a parody for you starring my bulldog or an inspirational clip.  You can see for yourself which one I went with…

8-Bit Philosophy

There aren’t a lot of opportunities in a standard curriculum for students to think philosophically.  Hopefully, teachers still find ways to give them time for such discussions.  In the past, I’ve written about the Kids Philosophy Slam and Teaching Children Philosophy as resources for integrating philosophy into the classroom.  Both of those offer ways for students for K-12 to become philosophers.

8-Bit Philosophy would be better for older students – middle school and above.  The topics are a little “heady” for elementary.  However, I think tweens and teens would really enjoy the fun graphics in these short videos, and they would definitely spark some interesting conversations.  There are currently 7 episodes available.  Each one is between 2-4 minutes long.  The subjects range from, “Do humans operate like computers?” to “Can we be certain of anything?”  (After watching the latter, I’m only certain that we can’t!)

As always, preview any videos before showing them to students. Religion is discussed in several of these, and there is a bit of video game-ish violence.

from: 8-Bit Philosophy
from: 8-Bit Philosophy – Episode 3
To the Moon

To the Moon

I absolutely love this video posted by Google in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week:

Here is Google’s message on the YouTube page: “Thank you to the millions of passionate teachers who inspire curiosity in their classrooms…lesson after lesson, unit after unit, year after year. We’re fortunate to have had many of you in our lives, and we can’t wait to see what the future will bring because of the work you’re doing today.”

If you are looking for a few more videos to honor the teachers in your lives here is a small sampling from my Inspirational Videos for Teachers Pinterest Board:

Because I Knew You via CoolCatTeacher

A Tiny Poem to the World from Kid President

Teaching Is…

If I Knew Then: A Letter to Me on My First Day Teaching from Edutopia and Soul Pancake

What Teachers Make by Taylor Mali

Teacher Appreciation Week YouTube Playlist  from The Principal Blog

And, please, as we spend this week appreciating our teachers, consider how fortunate we are to have the educational system we have in the United States and many of the other countries around the world. In yesterday’s post, I asked for help in righting an injustice which is rampant in several regions where students, particularly girls, risk their lives to receive an education.  I would be grateful if you would spread the word about this post, and what steps can be taken to right this wrong. #BringBackOurGirls

Videos About Kindness

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As graduation time rolls around again, I am reminded of one of my favorite commencement speeches in which Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, pronounced that it is better to be kind than to be clever.  It is well worth showing your students, particularly 4th grade and up.  If you have younger students, you might want to show them this newly animated video of a portion of George Saunders’ graduation address to Syracuse University students last year in which he also argues for the value of kindness. (I referred to this speech in an earlier post about kindness, when I reflected on the book, Wonder.)

 

As I look through my Pinterest Board of Inspirational Videos for Students, I find that kindness is a common theme.  Here are some others that I’ve collected through the years:

“Nothing More” - a song about kindness by Alternate Routes

“Giving” – a video that shows how kindness may be repaid many years later

“A Life Lesson” – from volunteer firefighter Mark Bezos (yes, the brother of Jeff) about how the little things can mean a lot

“Kindness Boomerang” - how paying it forward may end up paying you back

“Painted Pie” – a beautiful, post-impressionistic animation about a legacy of kindness

Shoe Collection – one of my own students, who spent her birthday helping others

 “The Robin” - a great video for young students, this animation shows a robin who stands up to bullies and is then faced with being on the other side

If you have any other suggestions for videos about kindness, feel free to mention them in the comments below!

 

The Motivation of the Near Win

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My daughter, 11, is a synchronized swimmer.  She also, recently, has become deeply interested in archery (along with most females her age who have read The Hunger Games).  So, it was providential when I ran across this video this weekend right after our Regional Synchronized Swimming Meet.

Last year, one of the routines my daughter worked on the hardest on was her solo. She received a lot of encouragement from several coaches that gave us hope that she would be a true contender in that event.  So, when she made 4th place (meaning that she did not qualify for Nationals), the news was tough to take.

This year, freshly invigorated, she made another attempt at the solo competition.

If you are not familiar with synchronized swimming, you might be surprised at the athleticism required for this sport.  An article in Popular Science states, “According the USOC, the synchronized swimming team practices more than any other sport. Between eight and ten hours a day, six days a week.”

Of course, my daughter does not practice that much, but dedicates at least 10 hours a week to synchronized swimming – a kind of perseverance that consistently astounds me.

This year, even more time was spent on extra preparation.  After all of my recent preaching about mindset and working harder, I couldn’t help but wonder if another disappointment might make me relapse into that fixed mindset of despair that we have any control over our own fates.

As I watched my daughter perform her solo, my heart soared at the smile on her face and the obvious enjoyment she felt.  Other parents in the stands commented on how fun it was to watch.  Several people confided that they were certain she had won.

When the results were posted, my heart sank.  She hadn’t won.

She got 2nd place.

Even harder to swallow, her duet got 5th place.

On the way home, I asked how she felt about everything.  2nd place in Solo, which qualifies her for Nationals, and was a vast improvement over the 4th place from last year, made her happy.  5th place in Duet upset her deeply.

And yet, “Oh, we’re already working on what we want to do next year,” she shared about the plans she and her duet partner have been making. “Yes, I want extra practice,” she agreed regarding her solo that isn’t quite good enough – yet.  No tears, just a weary sigh and new resolve.

My daughter never ceases to inspire me.  As I watched her line dancing with some of her teammates last night at a get-together for the competitors (I would have chopped off both my legs when I was her age rather than dance in front of complete strangers), I realized that I certainly haven’t mastered this job of being a mom, but the “near wins” have galvanized me to want to try.  As Sarah Lewis states in the video below, “Mastery is in the reaching, not the arriving. It’s in constantly wanting to close that gap between where you are and where you want to be.” 

In synchronized swimming, in parenting, and in teaching, the “near wins” are what motivate us to do better, to have hope that we can make a positive difference with the right amount of effort.

Watch the video below to see Sarah Lewis describe what it means to “Embrace The Near Win.”

Growth Mindset Videos

image from Growth vs. Fixed Mindset video
image from Growth vs. Fixed Mindset video

I’ve been collecting more and more resources on developing a “Growth Mindset.”  Today I wanted to share with you some videos that could be used to teach students about the value of embracing challenges and finding a way to learn from mistakes.

A little bit more advanced (vocabulary-wise) than the book, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, this video from SciShow, “Your Brain is Plastic,” shows the importance of continuing to learn and making connections in your brain.

“Growth vs. Fixed Mindset” has great graphics that highlight the main differences between these two mindsets.

This 10 minute video of Eduardo Briceno at TEDx Manhattan Beach would be good to show older students, parents, and teachers.

Here are some more mindset resources, and a link to the post I did last week  about a lesson I did with my 1st graders about mindset.