Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Show-Me a Movie Contest

A couple years ago, I had my students create videos for the 2012 Show-Me a Movie Contest; however, we couldn't submit them because of my oversight in that they had to be less than 2 minutes long, and all of my students' videos were over 2 minutes.  Woops.

So this year, for the 2014 Show-Me a Movie Contest my video production class each created videos in the Show-Me Your Community category.  One of the groups explored how the St. Louis community is fixated on the "Where did you go to high school?" question, another group explored the Ursuline community and theme of "Serviam" (through claymation), and the last group looked at the new Strange Donuts that opened in the Kirkwood community and how much they give back.

Overall, I am super impressed with these videos and really love how different they all are but still showcase how the community is across these different areas.  Enjoy...I sure did!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Knight Lab Story Map Project

A couple weeks ago I posted about Knight Lab's Timeline Project my advanced computer apps students did. This was a great project that turned out fantastic.

Another "lab" that Northwestern University's Knight Lab has is called Story Map. Story Map lets you tell a story via a map or picture/graphic. This is an awesome tool that can really make story-telling come to life in any content area. Obviously it is a map, so anything that is "mapable" is able to be created on this. However, you can also use your own pictures or graphics as well to tell your story! For example, a science teacher could take a picture of their entire experiment and then go through their "story" by visiting each of the specific experiment elements or pieces.

My students just completed a project using Story Map to tell a story of something "mapable" that they chose, as long as it hit all of the project requirements. Some of them created map timelines of events, others retold a character's journey in a movie or book, while others just mapped out the tour route of their favorite band.

Overall I was super happy with the products they were able to produce, and the high-quality they all turned out to be. Story Map really took their information to a new level in how it was displayed and produced using this lab.

Check out some of the examples below that my students created. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

UA Video Production

I have blogged recently about mobile journalism at UA, and this being an integral part of my video production class.  Although my students do a large number of mobile journalism projects, they have recently expanded on their creativity to highlight issues that are unique to UA, such as fire drill procedures and "girl code" issues as well.  Another group took their creativity to the next level and created a creepy, short movie in the spirit of Halloween.

I do want to again plug the awesomeness which is WeVideo--all of these movies were shot with iPhones, and edited using WeVideo's online editing software.  I am so impressed with not only the quality of these videos but also the vast editing capabilities that WeVideo offers on a web interface that is accessible across all platforms, PC, Mac, or Chromebook (and mobile devices as well!).  If you're a teacher and looking for fantastic sharable editing software that's web-based, check out WeVideo.  You will not be disappointed!  I cannot speak highly enough to it, and how awesome (and fast!) their customer service response is!  Anyways, definitely check it out and give it a whirl in your classroom (or for your own personal video editing use!)

Enjoy these recent videos produced by my fantastic video production students!  Well done ladies!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Knight Lab Timeline Project

Northwestern University has come out with this amazing timeline application called Timeline JS, or Knight Lab Timeline as I refer to it.  Northwestern has this "Knight Lab" that "advances news media innovation and education.  Developing ideas from experimentation through adoption, the Lab makes technology that aims to help make information meaningful and promotes quality storytelling on the Internet."

After I came across Knight Lab's timeline, I immediately wanted my Advanced Computer Application students to dabble in it and create their own interactive (and beautifully looking!) timelines.

After a few requirements from me (at least 20 events, must have a start date, must have multi-sentence text accompanying the event, must have a media item and credit, etc...), students headed over to and grabbed the Google Spreadsheet template that they would then use to build their timeline.  This is a feature I really loved--that the entire timeline was built using a Google Doc!!  How cool is that?!!  Hello auto-save, and syncing with Google Drive!

The goal was to have students embed their timelines on their Google Sites they created earlier in the semester, but that was one hiccup of the Timeline's embed feature: it wouldn't allow for embedding on Google Sites (which I actually think is on Google's end, not Knight Lab's).  I did find a work around to this, but it was super complicated and wayyyyy more steps than I wanted to roll out, so instead I just had students share their timeline preview links with me, and that worked just fine!

I wanted to share a few of these timelines my students made.  They got to choose what person/idea/event they were going to document on a timeline, so their timelines are very varied, yet all unique and well-created.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mobile Journalism

In my Video Production class, students have been diligently working on various mobile journalism pieces that are use in our bi/tri-weekly UA Today Broadcasts.  They are currently working on new pieces now, but have finalized and begun to show their first pieces on the Broadcasts that are being aired currently.

Before each group made their digital MoJo pieces using WeVideo, they used this template to create a storyboard for their piece--because you HAVE to do an outline/draft before you do the final product, even with videos!

Each group came up with their own stories they wanted to showcase: the new lunch food program in the cafeteria, a fun US trivia challenge with the students, a showcase of a recent concert event (Loufest), and study skills.

Overall, I am very impressed with these ladies' first MoJo pieces!  I cannot wait to see what their subsequent ones look like--I'm sure they'll keep getting better and better!

Also, students did only use their cell phones AND WeVideo to create these pieces--I'm super impressed with that and how these turned out!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Google Drawing Project

In one of my tech classes we have been learning about and exploring all of the various Google Apps.  Recently, students completed a Google Drawing project--which was actually 4 different mini projects all in one!

After learning the ins and outs of Google Drawing, students got to pick from a menu of project items 4 different projects they were going to complete using Google Drawing.

Along with the bullet points for each project, students were required to use Google Drawing to create their project.  After that, the creative juices were left to flow with them to see what they could come up with to fit that project!
Overall, I am super impressed with what these ladies came up with for their projects!  Very creative, and very detailed projects from all 8 categories were turned in!

Here are a few samples of the projects below that the girls' turned in.  I really think these types of "menu" projects are great for students because it allows them choice in how they are demonstrating that they understand the content at hand, and they are able to pick a project that they like rather than just being assigned one way to do it.

Anyways, here are a few project samples from our recent Google Drawing project:

Hero Project Revisited

Last year with my middle schoolers I had them complete a hero project in tech class.  Well, this year at my new school, I decided to use my old hero project from MRH as the perfect project and tool for teaching how to use Google Presentation/Slides.

The directions students had for this project were spelled out fairly clearly for them: they were creating a hero (using the HeroMachine 2.5) that they then were creating a presentation of detailing their life, enemies, superpowers, family, sidekicks, background, and much, much more.  This project was to practice and demonstrate the students' skills and understanding of using Google Presentation, but it also allowed them some creativity in creating their hero and what he/she's characteristics are.

Click on the links below to go to a few examples of the complete Hero Projects the students created.  If you click here you can see the directions for this project as well.  Enjoy these heroes--they are fantastic!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

WeVideo Project

When I was teaching at MRH, I loved doing a good video challenge--whether it was in social studies or technology, I really loved challenging the students to create a video using the elements I had provided for them (and a few that they had to provide on their own).

Now that I'm at Ursuline Academy, one of the classes I teach is Video Production--yes, that's right, an entire class dedicated to creating videos!  It's going to be awesome.  To start off the year in this class, I decided to do another video challenge, this time to get the students acclimated to using the online video editing software we will use all semester, WeVideo.

Each of the students got a copy of this doc, which included a folder of images, video clips, and sounds that they MUST use in their video (along with any other ones they wanted to include on their own).  They had to somehow tie all of these media elements together, using WeVideo, to create their final product.

The students had a few days in class to both play around with WeVideo and learn how to use it, and then create their sample project video.  I am loving the way all of these videos turned out!  Check out a few below...and click here for the entire playlist!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Missouri Google Summit

This Missouri Google Summit is COMING!!  I am so excited!  I recently did a guest blog post for the Missouri State Teacher's Association all about it.  Click the link below to read about the summit, details, and how you can sign up!

For those who don't want to read the blog, check out for all of the details about the summit (Saturday, October 4th!) and how you can sign up!  I've linked below the beautiful flyer that has oodles of info on it too!  If you're in Missouri, a teacher/educator, and a Google fan, definitely check this out!  You don't want to miss it!

EdView360 August Blog Post: A New School Year

If you're interested, check out my August 2014 blog post at the link below, all about the dawn of a new school year!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

2014 Defining Moments

This is a bittersweet post to write for me, as it is my last one I will compose at MRHMS.  These past 4 years teaching at MRH have been amazing, largely because of all of the amazing and awesome students I have had the privilege to teach.  The students are the reason I do what I do, and I am so thankful and grateful for the hundreds of kids I was able to teach--and learn from--these past 4 years.

This fall I will begin a new adventure, and use this blog to document that.  I will be moving to Ursuline Academy to teach technology.  As much as I hate to leave MRH, Ursuline is where I've been called to teach, because my passions lie in technology, and educating others about all of the awesome tools they can use in their projects, and teachers can use in their classrooms.  Stay tuned this fall for this new adventure I will embark on in teaching!

I wanted to share with you all some of the capstone digital stories--Defining Moments--that my 8th graders just completed as their final project in 8th grade.  I shared 2 years ago some of the Defining Moments from my last loop of 8th graders, and I wanted to continue that tradition and share some from my current group of kiddos.

First off, if you don't know what a Defining Moment is, watch this:

Now that you know what a Defining Moment is, I want to share some of these amazing group of students' digital stories.  Each on of these tell a unique story about a moment or event that has changed and shaped their lives.  If you click here you can visit the entire playlist.

I hope you enjoyed these...and I hope you've enjoyed my posts these last several years about our expeditions, adventures, and learning at MRHMS!  Here's to a new chapter in education!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dauphin Island Expedition Reflection Videos, take 2

A couple years ago, I had my then 8th graders create reflection videos from their experiences at Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL).  This was one of my favorite projects I've ever done--even though it wasn't technically a "social studies" project, I think it was hands-down one of the most important and heart-felt projects that they did.  They really reflected on their experiences from middle school and their expedition and created wonderfully creative and heart-felt videos documenting that.

I decided to go ahead and do this project again, because I loved it so much two years ago, and knew--despite me not being able to go to Dauphin this year :(--these current 8th graders would love it and do great things with it.

During MAP testing week, students spent a few minutes writing their reflections about their expedition and experiences.  This would then serve as their narrative for their video.

After showing a few examples from two years ago and going over the requirements (see below), students set out to create some awesome reflection videos about their Dauphin Expedition.

I was so impressed with how these videos turned out!  All of the students created some amazing video reflections of their experiences and did so eloquently and so heart-felt.  Enjoy these videos below!  And click here for the full playlist of their videos.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Google Tour Builder: Civil War Timeline

Earlier this year my students did a Google Tour Builder with the Donner Party--they mapped out the Donner Party's route west via Google's new Tour Builder.

This project was a huge success--for both the students and me!  The Google program was easy to use, and even in the beta version it had minor bumps and hiccups when the students used it.

I've been wanting to do a timeline-type activity for the Civil War, but wasn't impressed with any timeline software out there.  We've used Timeglider in the past, which is pretty good (and free!), but I didn't really like the appearance of it.  I then thought, "Wait, why couldn't we use Google Tour Builder to make a timeline?!"  It would be perfect: each battle/event would be a new "location", and with Tour Builder you can input start dates, end dates, information, location, pictures, and oodles of details.  This would be perfect!  Plus, the students already know how to use it since we used it earlier this year.  So I decided we'd go this route with our timeline.

Students were given several specific events/battles that they'd need on their timeline, along with what information each of their "locations" would need.

The students set out to create a timeline using Google Tour Builder.  The results were awesome--and definitely a much better looking (and interactive and very visual, with the map serving as the background) timeline than anything else I think I could have had them done.

Check out a few of the students' timelines below.  Once again, I'm super impressed with what they created and came up with!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

EdView360 April Blog Post: Destroying the Stereotype of Social Media in Education

If you're interested, check out my April 2014 blog post at the link below for Sopris Learning's EdView360 blog...trying so hard to destroy the negative stereotype of social media in education!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Clementine Hunter Paintings, Take 2

Two years ago I posted about our Clementine Hunter art integration project we did with our fabulous art teacher, Mrs. Schepker.  Clementine Hunter was the daughter of former slaves, and was a self-taught artist.  The subject of her paintings were the slave memories and stories that she heard from her parents and (former-slave) grandparents.

Clementine's style was very primitive and childlike.

I loved the way this project turned out so much two years ago I decided we needed to do it again.  It combined art with primary sources: the perfect integration piece for our Civil War unit.

The students were first asked to analyze 8 different primary source slave quotes in detail.  We spent some time in class analyzing these and discussing these.  Students then were introduced to Clementine's work and her style and technique were discussed and critiqued with Mrs. Schepker.  Students then selected one of the 8 quotes they analyzed that they connected with to then paint--in Clementine's style--on a canvas.  They sketched their painting first, then got out the acrylic paint and started replicating her style.

Once students finished their painting, they were given these directions to reflect on their own painting, the quote they selected to illustrate, and Clementine's style.  Students used the screencasting feature built in on QuickTime on their laptops to do this video reflection.  They then uploaded their reflections to the class YouTube channel--that was how they "turned in" their painting and reflection.

Check out some of their final Clementine Hunter paintings and reflection videos can click here for the entire playlist.  I am so proud of these kiddos and how their art integration project turned out!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

African American Life in the 1800s Video Challenge

It is no surprise that I love a good video challenge.  We actually have done a video challenge this year already (Lewis & Clark), so the students knew the routine with this challenge: they would take the information that we had been talking about, reading, and studying all week and synthesize it into a movie (using iMovie) in one class period.  I sure do love a good challenge--especially a video one.

After learning about how African Americans lived in the 1800s in the US (both as free and slaves), students had to create a video in just one class period (they actually got until 8pm that night to get it uploaded to the class YouTube channel) that included all of the following information:

African American Life in the 1800s
Video Challenge Directions

Your Video MUST Include:

  • use information/pictures from Lesson 19 and the Zinn Reading
  • at least 6 pictures
  • sound (either spoken text or background music)
  • at least 3 important details about African American life in the 1800s
  • details about how free blacks in the south lived
  • details about how free blacks in the north lived
  • details about how slaves lived
  • creative, engaging, and informative
  • uploaded to the class YouTube channel by 8pm TODAY! (in iMovie, go to “share” then select “YouTube”--make sure you title your movie with YOUR NAME--then type in the YouTube account info below!)
    • username: XXXXXXXXX
    • password: XXXXXX

Once again, I am blown away at what these students can create when given a challenge and a limited time to do it! Check out a few of their videos below or click HERE to go to the entire playlist from 2012 and 2014. Bravo 8th graders!!

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