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10 fun ways to use video creation in the classroom

Why not celebrate Digital Learning Day by instigating a video creation project in your classroom? Students enjoy working on video projects—they inspire creativity, allow for teamwork, and produce a final product the students can be proud of. Incorporating video projects in the classroom is one way to provide a rich blended learning experience for students. Divide students into groups to make a movie of a book they have read, retelling the elements of a plot. Or, ask students to create a video project about their favorite character or chapter instead of writing a book report. Create a song or rap video to help students remember math strategies, spelling words, or grammar rules. Turn student-written poems into artistically visual videos. Play charades by asking students to create a 30-second video. They can act out vocabulary words and have the rest of the class guess which word they represent. Design a movie about the history of your school or community. Have the children act it out. Produce a news segment of a special event, such as a guest speaker, a school 5K fun run, a beautification project, or a fund raiser. Ask students to highlight themselves in a one-minute get-to-know-you video. Invent a music video, using a song the students are learning in music class. Build a short documentary to explain a science project. Video is great to show time-lapse changes for experiments. Allow students to re-teach a unit using video. Students can create props and visuals to summarize what they learned about a given topic.   Useful Video Apps Many students now have access to iPods, phones, and tablets which are equipped with great, portable cameras for taking video. The following movie-making apps are useful, inexpensive (most are under $2), and can take your student-created videos to the next level: ScriptWrite, iMovie, Game Your Video, Action Movie FX, Time Lapse Camera HD, Movie Looks HD, Avid Studio, SloPro, FiLMiC Pro, TiltShift Video, and Scrolling Credits. Helpful Online Tools Masher is a fun, free, tool for creating video mash-ups. Masher offers large collection of video clips, music, and effects from their gallery. You can also add your own images, video clips, and music clips through the Masher uploader. Masher allows you to insert text throughout your video. Using Masher is simple: just drag elements from the media gallery into the timeline editor. From there, you can arrange the sequence of elements, and when you are ready, you can publish and share your production. Animoto is great for quickly making simple videos by using still images, music, and text. If you can make a slideshow presentation, you can make a video using Animoto. Animoto's free service limits you to 30-second videos. By applying for an educational account, you can create longer videos. Stupeflix is a service that allows users to create video montages using their favorite images and audio clips. Stupeflix allows users to drag and drop their images into a desired sequence. You will want to upload your own audio clips as Stupeflix offers only one default soundtrack. But an advantage of Stupeflix is that it allows you to use more than one audio clip within the same video. Photo Peach is a new service that allows you to easily create an audio slideshow, with captions, from images in your Flickr, Picassa, or Facebook account. You can also use images saved on your local hard drive to create a slideshow. Adding captions is easy: simply type the text into the caption box. Also, changing the order of images is a simple drag and drop procedure. Xtra Normal is a unique service that enables students to create animated, narrated movies just by typing the dialogue then dragging and dropping characters and set elements into the movies. There are free and paid plans for using Xtra Normal, but the standard plan should be more than adequate for most academic uses. If your class uses these ideas or resources for making video, we would love to hear about it. What ideas do you have about incorporating video in the classroom?
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How to help a struggling reader

By eighth grade, only one in four students is reading at grade level. This video shows how we can improve those odds: [jwplayer config="16x9" image="/sites/institutional/files/blog/2011/11/StrugglingReadersMG.jpg" file="http://sas-origin.OnstreamMedia.com/origin/imaginelearn/Blog/StrugglingReadersMG.mp4"]
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School name-calling: 15 tips for eliminating bullying

No sticks. No stones. No dissing. That’s the motto for No Name-Calling Week, a project inspired by The Misfits, a young adult novel written by popular author James Howe. The book tells the story of four friends who grow tired of being constantly teased in middle school and decide to run for student council on a no name-calling platform. Inspired by this idea, GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing created the No Name-Calling Week Coalition, which now consists of over 50 national partnering organizations. In March 2004, the coalition organized the first No Name-Calling Week in schools across the nation. Since then the project has gained thousands of supporters who believe in its cause, which is to end name-calling of all kinds and provide schools with the tools and inspiration to launch an ongoing dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities. As someone who has seen close family members suffer from the effects of bullying, I was thrilled to learn about this project and how I can participate. While it originally began in middle schools, the NNCW project has since been extended from kindergarten through twelfth grade because all students can benefit from learning how to be more understanding of one another and how to address name-calling and bullying. Would you and your students like to participate in this powerful project? Here are 15 ways you can make the eighth annual No Name-Calling Week meaningful in your school or classroom:
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3 ways to make your classroom an innovation zone

Do you put your clothes on in the same order every morning? Do you take the same route to work every day? Do you eat the same kind of food for lunch or listen to the news at the same time every evening? We’re all creatures of habit to some degree, and we will rarely change our habits if they don't negatively affect our lives. But what if there is a faster route to work that you just haven’t found yet? Or what if there is a delicious new food you just haven’t tried? You might be missing out on something incredible if you never change the status quo.
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How to bully-proof your struggling students

During the move to our new building, our office plant broke in half. I was heartbroken, but I put the broken half of the plant into a container of water with the hope that the plant would grow new roots. For the first few snowy months, nothing happened. No roots. Then, spring came and the weather started warming up. Seemingly overnight, my struggling plant was thriving, and all because the conditions were finally right. My plant had to be comfortable before he could really start to grow. So what does a plant have to do with bullying? Like plants, students need the right conditions to really send out their roots and start growing. Unfortunately, many students hold back because they don't feel comfortable in the classroom. One of the big reasons for this is bullying. Bullying can happen to any student, but English learners, struggling readers, and students with disabilities can be especially vulnerable because they may feel out of place or have low self-esteem. Luckily, you don't have to wait for a weather change to banish bullies and strengthen your struggling student.
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