Reading Rocks!  Creating an Animoto Video Based on a Novel

Tired of the same book projects and generic novel analysis handouts? So are our students! It’s time to show them Reading Rocks!

Reading Rocks! Using Animoto in the ELA Classroom will provide you with the resources you need to create an engaging, exciting digital storytelling activity. You will utilize this multimedia assessment tool year after year with your students once you see firsthand their excitement, effort, and the sense of ownership over their own learning. 

This teaching and student project packet can easily be implemented with any 6th-12th grade ELA and High School English curriculum and is also aligned with Common Core State Standards. 

As we move towards the widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to implementation, it is clear that the use of technology can no longer be an isolated opportunity - it must be implemented in all areas of thinking and learning. 

Students will be expected to evaluate information in multiple media formats and to produce multimedia presentations in order to showcase their learning. Reading Rocks! Using Animoto in the ELA Classroom provides your students with multiple opportunities to acquire these digital literacy learning skills. 

When educator's integrate digital storytelling with a Web 2.0 ed tech tool such as Animoto, students have the opportunity to engage in a process that includes multiple options for digital literacy learning. 

With the Reading Rocks! Teaching Packet, students engage in the creative process of using technology to analyze, plan, search, access, select, sequence, and synthesize images, text, and music through a variety of digital resources. 

In the included lesson plan, students may work individually or collaboratively to showcase their learning by 

 Searching and selecting representative images and music
 Generating relevant texts and keywords
 Analyzing how their music video’s content relates to their 

In this 58 page bundle of teacher and student resources are lesson plans for creating an Animoto video based on a novel, a teacher’s pacing guide with detailed instructions, and the following editable student templates: Student Image and Pre-search Planning handouts, Elements of a Book Trailer handouts, Animoto Image and Keyword/Texts Analysis worksheets, Creating a Video Based on a Novel Project Description and expectation sheets, Animoto Novel Video Grading Rubrics, and Rate that Movie student slips classroom activity. 

This bundle of resources also includes alternative student worksheets and handouts in order to differentiate instruction within your classroom.

You will have access to a Symbaloo Webmix with over 30 Copyright Free image resource links to simplify your students image searching. Included in this teaching packet is access to a Symbaloo Animoto Video Webmix of over 50 bookmarked Animoto student created videos - all based on popular tween and teen novels! 

Teachers can introduce the Create a Music Video Based on a Novel project by showing these examples of student book trailers in order to motivate and excite their students. This webmix of digital resources can also serve as a springboard for class discussion on identifying what elements make an exciting, enticing book trailer.

New to Animoto? Don’t worry! This packet has you covered! 

As a middle school and high school Media Specialist, I have implemented Animoto with hundreds of students the past nine years and successfully facilitated the video creation process with students from start to finish. Reading Rocks! Using Animoto in the ELA Classroom includes over 58 pages of editable teacher and student Animoto resources - all specific to ELA and the English classroom. 

Included are easy to follow How To Create a Video Using Animoto handouts with screen shots, detailed instructions on how to set up your student accounts, and how to work around common problematic scenarios, such as students not having email addresses as required by Animoto. You will also find tips on how to create and manage class Animoto accounts when you need more than the 50 free student accounts allotted by Animoto. The student login username and password slips template will help you keep all login problems at bay. 

The Teacher’s Toolbox handouts will provide you with the information and guidance needed to avoid or troubleshoot problems during the video creation process– such as when the students ask “Where are the images and pictures I saved?” and “Why won’t my picture upload into Animoto?”

With the purchase of this bundle of Animoto in the Classroom ELA resource packet, you will have on hand editable templates in order to use this activity with ANY story or text – from Shakespeare’s plays to nonfiction, informational articles!

This resource bundle will empower students with the capability to create a final product reflecting their own analysis, highlighting their creativity, and providing an outlet to express their own unique voice. 

The Importance of Teaching a Structured Research Process

Research Skills Digital Interactive Notebook

There's no debate! Common Core State learning Standards emphasize that our students should be able to conduct effective research - including but not limited to, engaging in frequent short and sustained research assignments, extracting relevant details, analyzing and comprehending varied text types, evaluating sources for accuracy and relevancy, and synthesizing information from multiple sources.

This may seem like a daunting task for educators!  In my former experience as a High School English teacher and, now, as a Secondary School Media Specialist, I have discovered the key to student success in conducting research effectively is in providing them with structure throughout the research process.  From Special Education students to AP/Honors, they all need guidance in selecting a topic, generating a list of research inquiries or questions, selecting appropriate resources, taking notes vs. copying, and putting their researched information together cohesively from multiple sources.

Many may think that today's generation of digital learners are very lucky, and the research process is so much easier for them than it was when we were students.  They have everything they need to complete virtually any research assignment from their living room couches!  Just use the Internet!  Right?  Wrong!

I believe our information overload and the Internet's enabling students with easy access to info have actually made it more difficult for today's students achieve the research standards outlined in Common Core. Students are accustomed to finding everything they need online.  Frequently, they only need one Internet site to locate enough information to turn in - just copy and paste it, and they're done!  This is NOT the research process!

We had to use multiple sources and synthesize information when we were students.  There was no Internet!  There were books and magazines/journals!  Microfiche!  Oy Vey!   Copy and paste?  What was that?  We had note cards.  You HAD to extract details.  You couldn't copy an entire source by hand!

Looking at research from this angle sheds some light as to the challenges that lie ahead for teachers in guiding our students in taking notes, using more than one source, etc.  The only way to accomplish this is by designing research assignments that require multiple sources and the assessment/end product makes plagiarizing from one online source impossible.  More of this to come!

I am in the process of uploading some of my tested, tried, and true research resources and materials to my TPT store.  Check them out when you have time!  The materials will provide your students with the background knowledge needed to conduct effective electronic searches, evaluate digital texts, and by providing your students with structure during the note-taking process through questions and prompts.

Additional materials I have recently created for teaching research in the secondary classroom include the following:

Evaluating Source Credibility Using CARS

Teaching Effective Research Skills and the Research Process

Research  Skills Task Cards for Google Classroom

Evaluating Sources and Source Citation

You can download for free this research resource!  Evaluate and Cite teaches students to analyze digital resources and to evaluate them for author's purpose and possible bias.  

The materials include graphic organizers, a lesson on evaluating websites for bias, teacher's notes, and more!

Evaluate and Cite:  Resources for Student Researchers