Week 5: Creating a Video

This week, we focused on creating a curricular music video.  The website Animoto was used to make a short, minute-ish long video that introduced a topic to the class.  The topic had to be aligned with SOL standards, and because my content area is English, I wanted to focus on literature for my video.

Animoto was surprisingly easy to use.  If you sign up as an educator, you get free access to about a dozen themes, and photos and videos can be inserted into these themes and set to music.  One theme that looked interesting to me was the Inferno theme, which has yellow and orange fire that seems to spiral.  The photos you put into this theme also appear to burn up as they are being shown.  Going off of the Inferno theme, I decided to base my music video on Dante’s Inferno.

Back in high school, I had an English teacher who read Dante’s Inferno with us and had us break into groups to create our own levels of Hell.  She asked us to reflect on our own lives and choose sins that we believed should be punished and put them in order.  The sins we thought were worse would be at the bottom, with the less grave sins focused at the top.  I went to Catholic school, so we had plenty of background reflecting on punishment and redemption.

I decided to incorporate this activity into my video.  I thought that the video should not just be an introduction to the topic, but a means of moving into a lesson or activity.  The video needs a purpose besides piquing students’ interests.  Once the students’ attention is caught with the video, they need to get used to moving onto the next step and think critically about what they are learning.  Here is my video below:



I think that Animoto and curricular music videos are a great way to get students interested in a topic.  English teachers especially can benefit because we want to get students interested in what they are about to read or are already reading, and sometimes it helps to give students a visual.  Students could also make their own 30-second videos as a project.  These videos would be helpful in introducing a unit, but maybe not just one lesson.  The video can introduce a longer text or an author that students are about to come across.  I would definitely use it for unit plans, but not every day so that they don’t lose their luster.

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3 Responses to “Week 5: Creating a Video”

  1. I really enjoyed your video and your blog posting this week! You said that you thought the video should incorporate an activity into it and I totally agree! I made me video for first graders and so I was having a hard time with how many words they would be able to read but at the end I asked a general question about the topic and figured that would be how I would lead a group discussion after watching the video. I also really like the idea of the students making 30 second videos. I am in a literacy class and we have been discussing book talks, which is when someone shares some information about a book but just enough to get someone interested in reading it. I think that these videos could be a cool way to do a digital book talk to get students interested in a book. I thought that might be a good idea since you are going to be an english teacher! Great post!

  2. I loved your video! I haven’t yet read Dante’s Inferno, but your video definitely added to the suggestions others have made in its favor. And the video was such a good example of what Animoto can do, especially for English teachers.

    I like what you said about using the videos as introductions to units or texts that students will be learning. I’d agree that those would be great uses of these videos, as well as showing students’ comprehension at the end of a unit. The best thing I saw, though, in my opinion, were your inclusions of the standards and the assignment. It seems so helpful to have the lesson given at the end of the video, which students would be able to access throughout their work.

  3. Erin Hill says:

    Gabrielle, I enjoyed watching your Animoto video in class– talk about captivating and engaging! The music and visuals not only captivating but also, appropriate and relevant to the subject matter. With technology like Animoto that is designed around aesthetics, I think it is all too easy to go astray and create visuals that are not purpose-driven and purely relevant to the content. For example, if a student were to use this program, I believe many would focus entirely on the bells and whistles to the point where the content becomes a side note. I suppose it is okay to go on artistic, aesthetic, and entertaining tangents sometimes, provided that you return to the content. Anyhow, I like how you incorporated an assignment/thought provoking questions throughout your video, while also making every bit of the visual and audio details relevant– it all came together nicely!