project, Social studies

Using Animoto in Social Studies

I recently showcased a small project my students created using the fantastic Animoto website.  Now Animoto does not want student accounts, so they used mine instead, which is a free educator account.  Sorry Animoto, but I just don’t see why students shouldn’t be allowed to use your site.  Anyway,  I was asked to go into details of how these were created and the truth is, it was really simple.

  1. We brainstormed what we knew about the US Land Regions to get the kids thinking about them.
  2. I spilt the kids into 5 groups, one for each region, by picking sticks – suck it up if you don’t like your group.
  3. Then I gave the students print materials to start them off in their research  My students have a tendency to want to jump on the computer right away but I wanted them to use books first, because these books are really good.  
  4. They also got an idea sheet to get them started since this was their first project of the year.
  5. The students then had some time to brainstorm, research and search for images that they wanted to put in their Animoto.  Now they had already seen how Animoto worked because of the creation of their classroom vision.
  6. Students had different roles as decided by their group; image finder, citation expert, fact finder, fact writer (have to keep it short and snappy) and Animoto person.  I did not have them put their citations in the Animoto, instead they had it on a separate sheet for me to see.  This is important since they need to cite their sources.
  7. Once they had some research, one student would get logged into my Animoto and would be in charge of adding the pictures that they had found as well as working on the text.  
  8. The whole group would play around with the Animoto, the background, placement of facts versus pictures, etc.  It was great to see how the kids worked together successfully and some not so successfully   Everything is a learning opportunity.
  9. Once the videos were finished, the students watched all 5 of them with a scrap piece of paper and wrote down 3 facts they learned in each.  
  10. We then created big posters of all the facts we learned through the presentations.
  11. Then the students evaluated their work.  We discussed what would make a great Animoto versus a not so great one.  What type of facts should be included etc?  
  12. Students then assigned each presentation a rubric number 1 through 4 and boy, they were harsh.
  13. We finished the project discussing what we would change, how we would do it better next time and what we learned.

The last step was super important because I want my students to be teachers as well.  So it is important that they put on their teacher hats and do the evaluation.  They are often much more critical than me.  They own their work, they evaluate it, and they know what they should do better.  Sometimes we redo it, sometimes we take the knowledge and apply it to something else.  I loved seeing how engaged the students were in this project.

4 thoughts on “Using Animoto in Social Studies”

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