Animoto: Another Great Tool for Adding Music and Video to Your Lit Plans

Summer has finally arrived here in Maine. I hope many of you, like me, have finished up the school year and can now take some time to recuperate. Looking forward to a productive summer, I am planning a series of blog posts focusing on the Common Core State Standards Initiative. My plan is to post regular articles with a simple goal: each blog post will take one specific CCSS outcome and demonstrate a resource and/or method for utilizing technology to meet that standard. Essentially, I envision a CCSS curriculum map for Language Arts, based completely on technology integration. I'm hoping to begin this series the first or second week of July. Meanwhile, I have found a website I think will be fun to use with students in the fall…Animoto. Animoto is a basic online tool that allows you to create "video slideshows" or montages with music and text. The basic "light" account is free (as long as you don't mind being asked often to sign up for the pay version) and it allows you to make as many thirty-second montages as you like. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know I'm always interested in how to combine multimedia with reading to bring the text alive for students, and this is a fun tool for doing that. In the Classroom I plan to have my students create slideshows that reflect the mood of passages they choose from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," a particularly eerie story. You can have students select a scene from anything you've read together and set it to images and music. Music has to be free from copyright protection, so be careful here. Steer your students to the Internet Archive where they'll find thousands of music files they can explore and experiment with…all free to use. The challenge for them will be fitting the right images and music to the scene. Students can also manipulate the speed of the film, add text, and even choose custom backgrounds. I put one video together quickly to try it out, so click here if you want to see it. I found the strange music in the Internet Archive and the images by searching Google. Thank you for reading. Get rest, and I hope you'll check back throughout July and August for my series of articles on meeting the Common Core Standards.