Moviemaking in the classroom

Moviemaking in the Classroom

There are many reasons for teachers to make movies in their classrooms. Here are a few ideas:

  • Creating movies from photos of student projects
  • Explanations of materials students are struggling with
  • Read alouds
  • Gifts for end of year
  • Directions for at-home projects
  • Welcome messages for families
  • Weekly newsletters

How can students use moviemaking in the classroom?

  • Gifts from students to parents, grandparents
  • Book reports
  • Project-based learning
  • Share student writing
  • How to movies
  • Teaching each other
  • Family trees

But what program or APP should you and could you use to create these movies? Well, there are plenty!

1. Moviemaker- The old standard. Moviemaker is free on your Microsoft computer. It is fairly simple to use and has an easy learning curve. It can be frustrating if you work on the project over several days, as the dreaded red X showing the pictures have been removed can show up. To combat this problem, gather all materials from video, pictures, music, etc ready before you begin, work on the same computer, and save often.

2. VidEditorFree- This is a free APP that my students have found to be easy to use. You can load your videos, arrange, and save as a completed movie file.

3. Photostory- Photostory is a simple, step-by-step program with simple directions. Step 1- Add pictures. Step 2- Add text. Step 3- Record voice. Step 4- Add music.  Step 5- Save the file as a wmv. You can only input pictures, no videos. The program puts in transitions for you, making it even easier!

4. Animoto- This is a web-based program. It is free for the basic version, but you can also get more options by paying $5-$10 a month. With the free version you make a 30 second video, paid accounts get up to 20 minutes. You start with choosing a theme, which gives you the background and music. Add pictures, video, and text. Then you can share your video with others through email, social media, and upload it youtube.

5. Voicethread- This program is both a website and APP. You add your media and then comment. If you share the voicethread, students can leave their comments through typing, calling in, video recording, or voice recording.

6. Educreations- This APP is another free and easy tool that uses a whiteboard as the background. You can write with multiple colors, type, add photos, and pictures. Then, record your voice. Projects can be emailed, posted to social media, or shared by a link.

7. Sock Puppets- A free APP where users use puppets to make their movie. Build the background, add props, select the puppet, and record a voice.

8. Pixntell- I love this easy to use and free APP. It is another easy few step project that can make videos. Add pictures, add voice, add text, and add special effects to make a video about anything.

9. iMovie- Mac users have access to iMovie. I have used it a couple of times and found it fairly easy to use. Since I am not an expert by any means I have found a few tutorials for you. Tuts teaches you from beginning to end in their tutorial. About Technology has this tutorial. The Dummies group also made a tutorial for the iPhone.

SO many options, how do you choose? Play with a few and see what works best for you. If you are using them with students I suggest you create a how to sheet with step-by-step directions. It makes it easier on you, the teacher when they can refer to their instructions rather than always rely on you!

I also strongly suggest storyboarding. Have students play with the program, figure it out, and plan the whole movie before creating. This will save time and frustration in the end.

Ideas for moviemaking? More movie programs? Leave ideas in the comments below.




Click here for an example:

From the company: Tellagami is a collection of innovators, technology gurus and creative artists in San Francisco exploring new ways to bring your messages to life. By combining photos, voice, character customization and personality on a mobile platform, we help you communicate in a way that’s never been possible.


Helpful Tip:  In addition to sharing with family and friends, people can also save the completed Gami video to the device and embed the video on  blogs and other websites.

Tellagami is an APP that allows the user to build a character/avatar with varying characteristics, backgrounds, and props. Users can also record their voice to have the avatar speak. The characters can be realistic to cartoonish, depending on what you want to do with them.  You can find more information at While the APP and basics are free, you can purchase more options.

When you open the Tellagami APP you will be asked to choose options of CREATE or HOW TO. If you click HOW TO it will give you step-by-step instructions, like I am giving you.


Select CREATE to make your Tellagami.

  1. Select character
    1. Select  gender and choose boy or girl
    2. Select eyes for eye color
    3. Select Skin Tone for skin color
    4. Select head to choose a head size (this is where you can get cartoonish)
    5. Select hair to choose hair style
    6. Select top for shirt selection
    7. Select bottom for pants selection
    8. Select shoes for shoe selection
    9. Select emotion
      1. Select the facial expression
      2. Select background
        1. You can take a picture for the background with CAMERA
        2. You can choose pictures previously taken in library
        3. Doodle allows you to draw and paint in the background.
        4. Under packs- free will give you backgrounds to choose from
        5. Roadtrip will also give you free backgrounds
        6. There are others below roadtrips that are paid additions
        7. Click the back button on the top left
        8. Click the message button
          1. You can record a 30 second message by touching the green record circle

i.      For 90 seconds you can upgrade

  1. You can add text to speech by touching the text button

i.      This is an upgrade

ii.      You can choose from several voices

  1. Share will allow you to send the Tellagami to friends and family


 This APP is very easy for kids to pick up and use. Last year I gave a brief lesson to my Kindergarteners and they picked it up and used it for weeks after with very little prompting or instruction. So how could you use this in class?

  1. Book reports
  2. Book movie trailer
  3. Historical figures come to life
  4. Scientist share their discoveries
  5. Share your character from your writing
  6. Teaching math facts
  7. Teaching science facts
  8. Introducing new topics of study
  9. All about me creations

 tellagami 4

Do you have other ideas for how to use Tellagami in class? Share them in the comments section below.

For other ideas visit:!tellagami-in-perspective/chl6


Planbook is a great tool that allows teachers to create lesson plans online, share plans with students, parents, and teachers, and add links, standards, and docs. If you would like to view my planbook, email me

For a free 6 month trial, visit and enter the code free6con.

Internet Safety ….it’s not just a kid issue!

Internet Safety


One of my main missions as a Tech teacher is to instill a sense of caution in my students when it comes to internet safety. I want to encourage them to stop and think before they click, reply, post, and friend people online. I do not want to terrify them with all the bad things that can happen, but I do want them to be smart about their internet usage.

As with all my units, I tell family stories to illustrate my point. So here are my stories for this unit: My cousin Ken, a 50+ year old man, found a vacation home online on a reliable site. He talked to the owner and sent the check. Then got a call a few days later from the person who got the check called and explained that his home was not for rent and someone had called him to tell him he could keep part of the money if he cashed the check and sent them the rest…can you say SCAM! Luckily, Ken got the money back. In fact, just last month Justin, my 23 year old nephew, sent me a link to a truck he found in Florida (where I live) and he wanted me to buy it and ship it to him (in South Carolina). We own a car dealership so this is common for us. My husband read the sale post and email from the seller and immediately said scam, he did a little digging and sure enough it was a fake ad. Others who do not work in this business may not have realized the signs and then they would be out a lot of money. I teach my kids that even adults can get bamboozled and that internet safety is a real concern.

One fun way I teach internet safety to my students in 2nd-5th is a game we call safe/unsafe. I have note cards purple says unsafe and yellow says safe and they are glued together. I give students a scenario or topic and count to 3. On the word three students show me with their card if it is safe or unsafe to do what has just been described.  For example, “Jenny is talking to someone online. They ask what school she goes to. Safe or unsafe?” or “Michael is on a chat space for kids who love Disney. Someone asks his favorite movie. Safe or unsafe?” It gives students a little action with their learning and think time as well. Then we discuss their answers.

Another activity I do with students is a sorting game. Students, individually or pairs, get a story to read about a kid doing online activities. After time for reading and thinking, we share the stories and the students sort the activities as “Cool to do, Sue” or “No Way Jose”.  Again we discuss the reasoning and talk about the consequences of the actions.

Currently, my 3rd grade is studying internet safety and they are making a movie of what to do and what not to do online. They will be teaching others what they think is most important about internet safety.  This gives them a bigger voice and evaluates their learning in a fun way.

There are tons of online resources that are available for all age levels. Two years ago I had fifth grade evaluate three different website/games for teaching internet safety. They had to play and see what the websites taught, then evaluate for what grade level they were appropriate for. Again, this takes learning to a higher level.

Here are some resources I have used and highly recommend:

Disney This is a Disney produced game with different levels. My fifth graders all the way to 2nd graders loved it. You even get a certificate saying you know safety!

Other Disney safety videos/games/sites Timon and Pumba

 Common Sense Media

Common Sense has a Digital Passport ( with lots of materials for students, teachers, and families on internet safety. Currently, my 3rd graders are playing the games and working their way through the videos and lessons. The videos give real kids telling real stories. They also have “Missions” that are printed worksheets that kids read and do art and other activities to build their knowledge. This is a very good resource! The only negative I have found is the games and programs use flash, and iPads don’t have flash. Commons Sense has many videos to use with their lessons including My kids loved to see their favorite cartoon characters teaching like they will be!


I absolutely love

I have used Flocabulary with my Social Studies lessons in the past and happened to stumble upon this amazing resource. There are interactive lyrics, fill in the blank, and questions as well. Super way to reach preteens and teens with a fun song!

A new resource I recently found, but haven’t used yet is

There are lesson plans and activities that look like they would be great for parents to introduce and emphasize computer rules and safety. They have books in English and Spanish, as well. Also, they advertise an APP to help limit kids access to what they can watch. Check it out and see if it is something valuable for you!

NetSmartz ( has a great internet safety unit for kids, teachers, and parents. Lesson plans, implementation guides, and tons of great resources can be found on their site. The lessons for students are broken in to kid, preteen, and teen lessons, which is great as it can target the needed areas on appropriate levels. They give your Powerpoint presentations for Tweens and Teens, as well as parents. There are a ton of videos, on every level as well.  One of my favorite things about NetSmartz is they also give real life stories, so kids can learn from peers. A lesson area that is sometimes overlooked is cellphones. NetSmartz has instruction for the etiquette and safety of cellphones as well…maybe we could assign that one to the parents, too!

The FBI has kid pages built in to their website with games and information for kids on many topics, including internet safety. You can find the info at The information is great, but it is kinda wordy for kids and the colors are a bit much. Still, good info to have!

Of course PBSKids has tons of resources in their Webonauts training program,  Kids see if they have what it takes to make it through the challenges to become certified safe online. They offer teacher and parent tips as well to get everyone on the same page. Flash is needed for this program, as well.

Do you have other resources to share? Please post them in the comments below!

Sock Puppets

Sock Puppets


Sock Puppets is a very cool free APP that kids can you to create movies. It is simple tool to learn and use. Like most free APPs, you can upgrade to get more options.

Open the APP and you will see the start screen


Choose NEW. Then you will select the puppets you want, click next. Select the background, click next. Select any props you want and click next. Your set will be created. You can record voices by touching the circle at the top, stop by touching the square. You have 30 seconds. To change “speakers” touch the puppet you want to talk and a red arrow will appear above the puppets’ head.


When you are finished you can save and share through social media or other tools.


Simple? You bet! Kids love it? You bet!

There are more things you can do…play with it and see how it goes.

So how can you use this is class?

  1. How To movies- this is an especially interesting use as students have to teach a topic in an auditory format. This adds a dimension of thinking for learners.
  2. Book reports- kids can tell their classmates about their favorite books using Sock Puppets.
  3. Spelling- puppets teach each other how to spell!

Need more ideas? Ask your students!

I am not the only one who loves this APP…



Have ideas for how to use Sock Puppets? Leave them in the comments section!