A few of my favorite things

Saturday morning means blog time!

I have been reading “Learning to Love Math” by Judy Willis.  I adore Judy Willis.  I had the opportunity to attend one of her workshops several years ago, and was completely inspired by her expertise in the brain and student learning.  (After all, she was a neurologist before deciding to become a math teacher!)  Her quirky presentation style and overall excitement about how the brain learns mathematics has forever influenced my lesson planning.

One strategy she mentions is the idea of “advertising” for an upcoming math topic.  A great website to use to create movie-like trailers is ANIMOTO.  I adore ANIMOTO.  While not practical for note-taking or needs otherwise met by typical slideshow applications, ANIMOTO combines images, videos, music, and spiffy transitions to give a brief “wow factor” to motivate and spark curiosity in students.

Simply choose a math topic, use images and videos from ANIMOTO’S stock photos or use your own.  Upload the images, add text as you see fit, pick a soundtrack or use your own, and VOILA… the magic begins!  Within minutes, ANIMOTO works its magic to create an impressive presentation for you, taking care of all of the details!  Transitions are generated automatically to synchronize your images to the beat of the song.  Oh, and if you’re an educator, you can request an ANIMOTO PLUS account for free!

Here’s a “trailer” I created for 6th graders using images and a soundtrack from the ANIMOTO library.  There was plenty of toe tapping!  After showing the presentation, I asked students to write down three things they remembered from the “trailer.”  After a brief discussion to assess their prior knowledge of formulas, we watched the video again and began a lesson on applying formulas.

Another website that makes for great “advertising” is Xtranormal.  I adore Xtranormal.  “If you can type, you can make movies!”  Customize a cartoon for your needs by typing the script, and watch an impressive show unfold!   I e-mailed support and asked if there were any freebies for educators, and received thousands of points in Xtranormal’s currency to create cartoons.  Here’s a sample from my collection.


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