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Character Education

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Digital Learning

Using Animoto to Capture Your Teaching Year

Making Memories - the most important thing we do as teachers. As the year draws to a close, we naturally wonder what students will take away from the time they have spent in our classrooms. Of course, we hope that their knowledge base has grown; that they know more of the curriculum than when they entered our class. We also know that there have been some amazing, fun, memorable moments on a more personal level amidst all of the standards and testing. How can we make sure that kids remember the personal connections, the happy moments, and even the silliness that mixed in with the learning? I hope this post will offer some ideas for saving the special moments of the past year, and will give you some ideas to use right away when school is back in session after summer break!

Taking photos has become even more widespread since smart phones make it so easy! From selfies to shots of students hard at work, from field trips to parties, we all probably have quite a collection of photos from the school year by now! I used to spend quite a bit of time making personal video portfolios for each of my students each year, often assisted by a parent or two, until I discovered Animoto! Animato is an online video collage creator that you can use to create beautiful video collages almost instantly with a collection of photos. The best news of all? The Animoto Plus account is FREE to educators! Click on the link above (the word Animoto) to sign up for your free account. After registering, you and your students will be able to start making amazing videos of your year together, their summer experiences, or specific events that were special to you.

To prepare for easy-peasy movie making, just create some files of photos. I would save photos from specific events, lessons, field trips, etc in separate folders to make them simple to retrieve. I stored those files in a shared drive that my students had access to. If you don't have a network drive to share with students, keep the digital photos on flash drives or CDs where students can get to them. Although Animoto has quite a music collection available as part of your subscription, you can also substitute your own music. Just have the mp3 ready on your desktop or even inside the photo file folder before you begin.

From this point, video creation is super simple:
  • Open Animoto, log in,  and click on "Create".
  • Choose a style. This is the background that your photos will display on, and also the way they will transition from one photo to the next.
  • Upload your photos (and video clips if you like). Just go to the folder you have created for the photos you want to use, select all, and choose. Uploading is then automatic. It will take anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour, depending on how many photos and video clips you have selected.
  • Move any photos around by clicking and dragging.
  • After all photos have uploaded, add text screens for title, comments, credits, etc. You can also click and drag these.
  • You are now all set to publish if you are using their music. If you are using your own music, just click on "Music" near the top of screen to upload your own. 
  • When you think you are done, you may preview your movie and edit, or you may just publish. 
  • After your work is published, Animoto gives you links to share on social media, to download,  or to embed. If you plan to share on social media, be sure that you have written permission from parents first.

Animoto also has personal accounts available for just $5 per month. Anyone can make a short video for free! If you would like to make longer videos and/or use your own music, the personal account is worth it!

As you plan for next school year, why not think of some ways to use Animoto to introduce lessons, or as a project presentation tool for students!

Here are two examples of the fun you can have with Animoto, capturing and saving those memories to be enjoyed over and over! The first is a link to a student-created collage of the whole school year, created by two students working together. The second is a quick video I made with my personal account to celebrate my grandson's first T Ball practice.

School Memories Class of 2014 video 2

Ethan's First T Ball Practice

I'd love to hear from you after you give Animoto a try! How will you use it?

Happy to link this post with the Bright Ideas Blog Hop because I think using Animoto is a Bright Idea!


  1. HI Retta! I think you just saved me a lot of time! I have been making end of year videos forever using imovie, and I always forget how to do it and have to relearn! I think this might do the trick!
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Susanna! Yeah, I've struggled with iMovie too! Found out that when you're crashing for a deadline on a presentation, that may not be the best time to learn!
      You will love Animoto! Good luck!

  2. Alright, this is a MUST do for me next year! Thank you!

    1. Yay! So glad to hear that you'll be giving it a try!

  3. I am sooooo doing this next year! It's so much easier and cooler than what I do!

    Sally from Elementary Matters