Series Edutopia Tech2Learn: Movies Made Easy with Technology

Movies Made Easy with Technology

Lesson Objective: Combine reading, writing, collaboration and technology by making movies
Grade 5 / Technology / Media


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. In what ways does the use of technology enhance this lesson?
  2. Notice students' ability to explain their process and end result. Why is this important?
  3. How does an authentic audience help to improve the quality of student projects?


  • Private message to Erin Zost

Great video that shows how students can use technology and be creative while using it.  I like how the teacher gave so many choices for the students to pick from for their project.  And having them focusing on an audience was a good motivation point.

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  • Private message to Willi Colbert
Great lesson. You mentioned using iMovie...our district uses Chromebooks and we're going Google next year. Can you recommend a similar platform?
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  • Private message to barbara goemans
Thank you for sharing.
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  • Private message to Joann Fantina
Thank you, gives lots of possibilities
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  • Private message to Judith Bourgouin
Wow, awesome. I learned a lot. I have to have students make a 2 minute commercial on History- Ancient Civilizations and how they were the greatest innovators- argument type of project. They have to produce a powerpoint, movie,or on paper, so this really got me to think and help to guide students where and what to do.
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  • [00:00:02]
    D'Alessio: As a K-5 teacher, we understanding that it's really important to integrate the curriculum as much as possible.

    D'Alessio: As a K-5 teacher, we understanding that it's really important to integrate the curriculum as much as possible. So, if you're doing a lesson in the computer lab, if it's combining some of the reading skills, writing skills, language arts skills, or their knowledge about a certain subject area, umm, I think that it makes learning a lot more meaningful.


    D'Alessio: A few years ago, the district had to do a lot of cutbacks on tech spending, and it started to see that there was an advantage of using the cloud-based, or free, web apps. And anybody who has a computer or internet, they can access them from ... not only from school, but at home, so my goal is get them so excited that they go home and continue on with their learning.
    [00:00:57] For example, they can do their digital art or digital drawings in programs such as SUMO Paint, or PsykoPaint, inside of Google Docs, Google Drawing, Photosketch, SplashUp -- those are just a few choices that I give them.
    F Student: This is a list of different applications that you can use to, like, make music or do art. It's just a variety of them that Miss D'Alessio put together.
    D'Alessio: And then we also take advantage of a lot of the free software that comes built in to our Apple computers, so we utilize iLife a lot for our photo and video editing inside of iMovie or in iPhoto. And we also use things like Garage Band and iTunes for them to do their audio recordings or create music.
    D'Alessio: [TO STUDENTS] You get your ingredients together in the folder, and then when you mix them together, this is what you're doing in iMovie. And then when you export it out it's sort of like you're baking the cake.
    D'Alessio: [TO CAMERA] I gave them several choices on the assignment that they had to do, and all of them had to use iMovie. The first one was to make a life story with pictures from their childhood, under three minutes; and another one was that they could do a poem; and another choice was that they could create a tutorial explaining a concept that they had learned and knew how to do, such as a math concept.
    [00:02:14] And then the other one was that they could do a personal narrative or other fictional story that they had written, and turn that into a video in under 90 seconds.
    D'Alessio: [TO STUDENT] And what's your project about?
    F Student: I did this personal narrative, and I went to this place called "Pismo Beach."
    D'Alessio: Oh, okay. So, you did the story about Pismo Beach.
    F Student: Yeah.
    D'Alessio: Where are the photos that you are going to use for that project?
    F Student: They're on the server and they're in the iMovie folder, too.
    D'Alessio: Okay. Perfect. So, you already transferred them over from ... from home.
    F Student: Yeah.

    F Student: [TO CAMERA] Well, we have to make, like, an ... a movie project, so you kind of ... you have a topic, and with your topic you speak into a microphone, and then you draw pictures to go with what you're saying. [READING] "Sad is the color of dark blue. Sad sounds like sobbing and deep misery."
    [00:02:58] [WITH IMAGES ON SCREEN] "Sad feels as heavy as [sounds like:] sharp bricks (??). Sad smells like tears on a damp pillow."
    [00:03:04] [TO CAMERA] When I go in the lab and do, like, an iMovie project, and I'm just going to do one of these poems. And I'm gonna ... There's this thing called [sounds like:] "KidFlicks" (??). I'm gonna, like, load it on, like, into little, like, sections; put it all together; and I'm gonna put music in the background. I'm probably gonna, like, talk about it too a little bit.
    F Student: [POINTING AT SCREEN] ... and then point at your audio; put it in iTunes.
    [00:03:29] So, go to "Events" ... put all your [INAUDIBLE -- many voices] But put them all together.

    D'Alessio: [TO CAMERA] If you create an environment where they can collaborate with each other, then they get better ideas with each other, but also they help each other to finish their ... their projects.

    F Student: My story is about basketball. Right now, I'm working on adjusting how long each photo is going to take, and seeing where I need to place the photos.

    D'Alessio: [TO CAMERA] You've got the writing skills and the reading skills and the speaking skills, and the technology skills, collaborating with each other, organization skills all put together.

    M Student: [TO OTHER STUDENT] Can I hear?
    M Student: [TO CAMERA] We both were doing tutorials. We got the audio first recorded outside. And then we took a screen recording of what we were doing on, like, this painting web site, and we, like, just filmed what we were going to show on the tutorial. Then, on iMovie, we put the video and mixed it with the audio, and cut off some portions of audio or clipped some portions of video for it to kind of match up."

    D'Alessio: [TO STUDENTS] How many people got their iMovie projects uploaded and on their digital portfolios?
    [00:04:48] [TO CAMERA] And then, you know, the next thing would be able to share it with other people. But I think that it makes it all the more meaningful in terms of, umm, if they think that somebody else might see it, you know, you have the whole concept of the authentic audience.


    D'Alessio: [TO CAMERA] Another important concept that I want students to know is that it's not just me teaching them; we're all here to teach each other, and each one of us is, you know, a citizen in this class, I want them to participate and contribute to their learning. So, [I] definitely want to encourage them to be sharing and to collaborate with others, and to, you know, always be a lifelong learner.


School Details

Fairlands Elementary School
4151 West Las Positas Boulevard
Pleasanton CA 94588
Population: 767

Data Provided By:



Nicole Dalesio


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