Video Killed the Radio Star

Nothing excites students much more than seeing me roll the iPad cart into my classroom, and hearing me say the words “today we’ll be making videos”. Because we use iPad’s we have mostly worked with iMovie. This year my students made book talks using iMovie. In groups of 2-3 they created a script, and then used video clips, voice overs, and images to tell the audience about a book they read and enjoyed independently in class. Because we were talking about audience and author’s purpose, I asked them to make sure that their video contained informational, persuasive, and entertaining portions. Here is an example from students, Kyndal and Lyndie:

Untitled from Ms Zuckerman on Vimeo.

The year before I presented the students with a news scenario. I was teaching author’s purpose and tone, so I had students pretend to be a news crew reporting the story. Each group had to report on the story using vocabulary that enhanced their assigned tone. For example, some had to take a positive spin on the story, while others had to be negative. Some were neutral, while others sensationalized. They recorded their videos news report style, and we watched them in class, and voted to decide which group did the best job enhancing their assigned tone.

Powtoon and Animoto have been favorites of my students over the past couple of years. Powtoon has been used for reading projects to add a new chapter to the end of a book, or recreate a scene from a book using animation. Animoto is usually my student’s top choice when I ask them to make book trailers. Here is an example: Sydney’s Animoto Book Trailer

I am really interested in using the “Mission Impossible” template in Powtoon. I think it could be a really fun way to introduce a project, or to share with students what needs to be done when out on School Related leave, or a personal day. The “Five Facts” template could be fun for the beginning of the school year. Students could create them by writing five facts about themselves. They could be shared in Schoology, and students could view each others. It could be a homework assignment to have students find commonalities between themselves and their classmates.

Jing would be a great tool for teaching students the technology skills that they need to really be successful in the 6th grade. 6th graders have enough of a hard time using organization as is, and with Henrico’s 1 to 1 laptop program, students who don’t understand how to navigate all the new tools, are going to struggle. Jing could be used to show students how to submit work online, work collaboratively in google drive, organize their work and notes using digital files, or use a new technology tool that the teacher is incorporating. Jing is King for tutorials.

Finally, I have always felt that stop-motion video has such a dreamy, emotional quality to it. I would really like to incorporate some of the tools for stop motion suggested by Richard Byrne. Such as, CommonCraft, Jelly Cam, and O Snap. Stop motion is a great way to show process. It could be used to show students putting together a piece of artwork. It could also be a really awesome way to document the school’s garden over time, or to teach students how a story goes from story-boarding to shot by shot production.

There are so many new tools out there. But cool things can also be done with some tried and true tools, such as powerpoint. This is a “video” one of my students created using powerpoint, that I thought was very well-done (and quite humorous as well!). You will want to download it to your computer, as looking through it on Google Drive does not allow for the audio to play. Kaile’s PowerPoint “Video”


Byrne, R. (2015). Six styles of video classroom projects-a handout. Free Technology for Teachers. Retrieved at:

Video Killed the Radio Star

4 thoughts on “Video Killed the Radio Star

  1. This post is wonderful, so helpful to see real student examples! My favorite was the video of book talks, especially the various “Flora and Ulysses” ones — it was amazing to see how different they were, yet each one was achieving the goal! Can you give me a ballpark idea of how much time was allotted for the book talk project? A week? Two weeks? And how large was each block of time for the students to work on it? (60 mins. or 90?)


    1. We did the book talks for about two weeks. Students were given 30 min each day in class to read, leading up to the assignment. All the books were chosen by students, and we met in reading conference at least once. Then I gave them the book talk project. They had 90 min blocks to work. We spent the first two days writing scripts and doing some iMovie practice with the ITRT. Then they had a couple days to film and produce… The kids adored this project. Most of them wrote about it in their end of the year letters.


  2. I loved reading how you’ve actually used some of these applications with your middle school students. Its really neat to see how the children were given the framework and made it their own. What a great way to incorporate comprehension strategies and vocabulary.

    Liked by 1 person

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