Tag Archives: iMovie

Getting started with cooking videos

A recipe for video-making proficiency

"Video in the Classroom"The ubiquity of the digital camera, whether mounted in smartphone, tablet or Chromebook, is getting everyone excited about making videos in the classroom. But it can be hard to translate the squealing, hand-flapping excitement of POWER into concrete, finished products. But making videos gets so much easier when you have two things: purpose, and structure.

Enter the cooking video. Now, at this point in time, the humble cooking video is a type of 21st Century lingua franca. Blame Alton Brown’s long-running Good Eats, or Tasty and their immaculate white-tiled backsplash, or simply admit that you’re off watching Tiny Kitchens videos on twitter when you should be paying attention in a staff meeting. Ahem.

So let’s jump in and get those spoons stirring. The purpose! A short, manageable student-produced video project that showcases student learning and builds video skills.

And the structure? A shot-by-shot approach. There is no need to re-invent the wheel, people. Steal from the best– Take inspiration from the wealth of cooking videos already existing out there. Note down what shots they use and be reassured that you and your students can get this done in two class periods. We teamed up with 6th graders at Currier Memorial School, in Danby VT, to test what it’s like to give students:

And you guys? THEY DID AMAZING.

Let’s tuck in. Starting with the gear:

We loaned Currier’s 6th graders the standard kit everyone here at the Tarrant Institute uses for shooting video: an iPad held in an iOgrapher case, with an external Rode Video MicPro, and either a tabletop or full-size tripod. They recorded their footage using the iOS native Camera app. Videos were edited in Apple iMovie on MacBooks. And there were three kits shared between 18 students.

The shot-by-shot approach:

Getting an iPad on a tripod is half the batter– uh, battle. After that, it’s a matter of writing a script and shooting some of the key components of the modern cooking video. You can go in order, or mix and match.

1. Introduce Your Host

A huge part of the appeal of cooking videos is that the default format centers on a friendly host, someone informed about food and cooking. When you watch a cooking video, you’re essentially welcoming that person into your home to show you how to make tasty food. And as video becomes more and more common for reflection, a key skill for students is getting comfortable on camera.

2. Currier’s innovation: The Ingredient Montage

Giving students the tools, the purpose and the structure and just hitting the deck almost nearly guarantees innovation of one form or another. In Currier’s case, they came up with the stop-motion ingredient montage as a key component of their videos, and it is simple but glorious.

3. The Action Shots: Pouring, Mixing, Whisking, Stirring, Adding, Filling and Checking Temperature

Overhead shots are your bread and butter of cooking videos! (Okay, I’ll stop.) But they actually do serve two functions in your video. One, they illustrate the step the host is describing, and two, they provide visual interest. That’s right: overhead shots are your cooking video B-roll!

4. Updates from the host

As your cooking is coming together, having the host continue to provide updates and small tips about the cooking process makes a watched pot much more interesting and informative.

Looking for a lesson plan?

Currier Memorial School educator Carrie Maus-Pugh designed this planning worksheet and checklist for students as they worked through their videos. BOOM.

Putting it all together

Amazing, right? We can smell what the Currier Kitchen is cooking and it is some glorious video work from the classroom.

The assessment rubric

Of course, as we all know with assessment, the proof is in the pudding. In this instance, the teacher was trying to integrate many concepts into this one cooking video; it combined geography, communication, poetry, science — so much good stuff!

Let’s say you just want to start with this video as a performance demonstrating clear and effective communication. Here’s a rubric that might support students and help them understand how to demonstrate proficiency:


Results! Delicious, delicious results.


And some surprises!

Sure cooking videos have their own narrative and format, that’s what the post’s about. But! Have you ever wanted to hear dumpling poetry? Good morning. Day: improved.

Have you tried shooting cooking videos with your students? How did it go? What did you learn?


How to make a mini-documentary

You’ve captured video of ALL THE THINGS. You’ve diligently trained your device on the action as some truly amazing work has gone down in your school. You’re excited to have a video you can share with families, with the school board and add to your PLP portfolio. And now you’re just sitting there, overwhelmed by it all. Wondering how in the world you’re going to get from an iPad full of footage, to finished. You’re wondering how to make a mini-documentary.

So… now what?

Now it’s time to get from footage… to finished.

Getting from raw footage to finished video can feel overwhelming. A lot of times what you’ve shot may make the best sense only within a larger context. But how are you going to tell your story?

Here is one way to make a small, manageable documentary-style film from your footage. There are tons of other ways you can try, including going to film school. But this way should only take you one afternoon.

Behold: “All Fried: Carolina Fish Camps”

All Fried: Carolina Fish Camps from Southern Foodways on Vimeo.

Watch this video. It’s six minutes long and it will make you ridiculously hungry for fried food. After you watch it, we’ll talk you through a way to make your own school-related version of it out of three things: a good interview, some listening skills and B-roll.

But first, the fish. Get to the watching.

Now, what did you just watch?

You watched a person — in this case a university professor — telling the story of a practice they like — eating at fish camps — and explaining why they like it.

That’s it. An interview punctuated by interesting visuals that helped explain the interview. And even if fish aren’t your deal, now you have one way to take a very big and overwhelming topic and make a compelling video about it.

And you’re going to do this by:

  1. Shooting an interview;
  2. Grabbing its soundbites;
  3. Adding B-roll, and
  4. Getting fancy.
Let’s jump in.

1. First, get a good interview

Decide who is be the best person to tell the story of your school project. That person is going to be the narrator of your documentary. 

Grab your gear and a partner

We use this setup to record most of our interviews:

We use it because it’s durable, relatively low-cost and super easy to use. There are tons of other setups out there, and whichever one you use is awesome. You’re doing absolutely amazing and none of us are going to Cannes tomorrow. Let’s ease into this.

Now, using the plain old Camera app, you’re going to find a quiet space, make sure your microphone is on, and record a simple but informative interview.

After you’ve made sure your microphone is on, you’re going to answer these five questions:

  • What is it you’re doing?
  • What’s the most challenging part about it?
  • What’s the most satisfying part about it?
  • What one piece of advice would you give to other teachers who’d like to try what you’re doing?
  • If you had to do this over, would you change anything?

For your interview, get comfy. This works super well in pairs, but sometimes you just have to go it solo. As long as you have your questions and make sure you’re in a quiet space (and your microphone is on) you can make it work.

Some notes about the interview environment:
  • Natural light from a window will make you look your stunning best. Or just go outside into the natural light. Go on. Shoo.
  • If you’re outside you likely will want to have a wind muff over your microphone.
  • Take a moment to make sure you’re not sitting under an AC vent or a fan, or next to an aquarium.
  • If you can, find a small room to record in for good audio, or, because we’re being realistic about school settings, have the interviewee face a bookshelf or a breeze block wall. Look for a space with a low ceiling. Those are the types of features that will help you get great audio.

Finally, make sure you see black bars at the top and bottom of your iPad screen:

And hit the record button.

Interviewee, please start by introducing yourself with your full name, what grade you’re in (or what subject you teach, possibly both — you know yourself best) and what school you’re connected with.

Now let’s step through our five questions.

If you’re the interviewer, give those questions some breathing room,  and don’t interrupt. If you feel yourself starting to “Mm-hm” or “Oh yeah!” realize that those will have to be edited out and, in the words of Her Own Sainted Self Tyra Banks, smize it out instead:

Smizing is the art of giving your interviewee encouragement to keep talking without actually making a sound. Less editing to do at the end.

2. Next, find your soundbites.

Now that you each have a good interview clip, you’re going to watch it back and figure out what your soundbites are. Those are the moments that make you nod your head, like, yes, that’s exactly what I want people to know about this project.

If you transfer your video to a laptop or desktop for editing, and open your interview clip in Quicktime, you’ll have that great timescale at the bottom of your clip:

how to make a mini-documentary


Grab something to write with. Now, as you watch your interview, when you hear a soundbite, jot down the approximate time it starts and finishes, and some words or a phrase that will remind you why you liked it so much. Get through the entire video, and find those soundbites.

Then, rank your soundbites.

Start by starring the ones you really love, as opposed to the ones that were just pretty good. Then assign them numbers, number 1 being the best, number 2 the second best etc etc.

Now it’s time to crack open iMovie

Create a new Project in iMovie, and import your interview file. Drop it onto the timeline so the beginning lines up with 0:00.

You have your list of soundbites with approximate timestamps. Say you want to create a soundbite from 0:10 through to 0:23. Move your playhead to 0:10. Wiggle it around a bit until you’re a little before where the soundbite begins. Once you have your playhead in place, click on the clip so it turns yellow, then press command-B, or go up to the Modify menu and choose “Split Clip”. You have just made your first edit.

Click on the bits of the video you don’t want, the bits outside your edit, and hit Delete. They get deleted from your timeline.

Finally, go to the File menu, choose Share… and then File…

You get:

how to make a mini-documentary


Repeat this process until you have a directory of soundbite files to work with.

Now, create a fresh iMovie Project and import them all.

You’re now going to arrange them on your timeline in a way that makes sense to you narratively. Don’t worry about your visuals yet, just figure out the story they’re trying to tell.

We try to put our favorite soundbite first in line, to draw people in. And we put our second-favorite soundbite last, as a coda to the whole story.

3. Add your B-roll to keep things moving

B-roll can consist of video clips or it can consist of still images you feel contribute to the points you made in your interview. In the Fish Camp story, you see a lot of B-roll of inside the restaurants, and the food being made, but when Dr. Criswell starts talking about how much he loves looking at the old menus, the visual cuts away to still images of menus. Totally awesome use of B-roll.

One of the most interesting things about the Fish Camp video is how much of the B-roll is tied to the nouns in Dr. Criswell’s story. When he says:

The fish camps were a place you could go, and feed your whole family, and not blow your paycheck (0:37-0:42)

(emphasis ours)

The B-roll that’s being shown on-screen at that time is of a group of similar-looking people, like a family, giving their order, which the waitress writes on the check.

When Dr. Criswell says:

And the portions were always generous. (0:46-0:47)

(emphasis is us again, we’re shameless)

The B-roll on screen is of a plate or portion of food. The amount of food on the plate is large, or generous.

When Dr. Criswell says:

The food at the fish camp had a direct relationship to the mill workers (1:20-1:23)

you see B-roll of mill workers.

So this is a great point at which to stop and ask: What are the nouns in your story, and do you have B-roll to illustrate them?

You can also shoot extra B-roll, if you’d like.

If you’re talking about how amazing it was to learn to tie your shoes, for example, take the media kit and film a partner tying their shoes. Maybe film over their shoulder or get down on their level with the tripod.

Two tips:

  1. Watch B-roll on fast-forward using the slider to control how fast it goes. You can get through a ton of footage just looking for interesting pieces of movement that catch the eye. Note the filenames and approximate timestamps. It’s easier to pull B-roll in as large chunks and fasten it in place, then adjust.
  2. Look back at your soundbites for interesting movement. If you got really heated about the chihuahua story and did a lot of gesturing with your hands or imitated its facial expressions, that’s really interesting to look at. Think about whether you really need to cut to B-roll there, or whether you telling the story is enough on its own.
Over in iMovie, start importing your B-roll into your project.

Command-I is your friend, people.

Once you have it in your project, add a piece to your timeline by selecting the clip and placing it above your existing timeline:

how to make a mini-documentary
(click to enlarge)


3.5 Stop and take stock of your work

Try this as a starting exercise: add in your top three soundbites, and some B-roll, then watch your story. Do you like what you’ve made? What’s missing? Did you get all your nouns? Do you need to shoot more B-roll?

Aaaaaaaaand breathe.

4. Get fancy with it: titles and background music

You didn’t think we were done, did you? P’shaw, we’re just getting started.

But as you go back and watch the Fish Fry (yes again; just one last time), ask yourself:

  • When does the title appear?
  • What does the title appear over?
  • Is there background music?
  • When does it come in? How long does it hang around for? And what word would you use to describe it as a mood?
And now for the obligatory piece about copyright

There are many fine pieces of music you can use for background to your documentary that are generously made available for Creative Commons use. Some good places to look are at the Creative Commons site itself, and over on Soundcloud, where you might find some lists that surprise you…

A huge shout out to the fine folks at the Southern Foodways Alliance, especially “All Fried” director Ava Lowrey for making this and other fine documentary pieces.

Here’s one we made earlier:


What’s your secret recipe for getting from footage to finished?

4 digital identity exercises for students

Introduce a student-centered tech-rich year

#ready2launch student identityLooking for ways to explore digital identity with students? Here are 4 student-centered, tech-rich digital identity exercises for working with students. As a bonus, all the exercises produce media that students can add to their digital portfolios. Let’s watch!

Continue reading 4 digital identity exercises for students

Study National Parks with digital tools

Student-created virtual park tours

With access to online and tablet-based tools for digital curation and content creation, students can research the history, challenges and attractions of one of our nation’s 58 (!) National Parks. Under the rubric of planning a visit to them, students can answer an essential and timeless question: What features make National Parks special and worth saving?

It’s almost as good as being there. Especially if you’re trapped in snow and/or don’t have your driver’s license yet. Let’s roll!

Continue reading Study National Parks with digital tools

What are some good tools for studying hurricanes?

Science app-smashing in a 1:1 environment

iPAd how to in a 1:1Brendan Nerney, a middle grades educator at Mill River Union High School in Clarendon, Vermont, explains some of the edtech tools his students use to study hurricanes with their iPads. The students used a variety of edtech tools to produce a mock newscast documenting a hurricane and its aftermath.

Let’s look at some good tools for studying hurricanes.

Continue reading What are some good tools for studying hurricanes?

Augmented reality and student identity

Students explore the geography of self(ies)

augmented reality and student identityAn innovative way for students to explore who they are happens in Lori Lisai’s classroom at Lamoille Union Middle School where she works with them to craft an interactive biography through her Geography of Self project.

A bulletin board houses the student self portraits; 8th graders include their 7th grade portraits side-by-side: a visual representation of growth-over-time.

Continue reading Augmented reality and student identity

Get out! 4 ideas for using iPads outside (and away from Wifi)

Get out there!

It’s spring (unless you’re in the Antipodes) and IT HAS FINALLY STOPPED SNOWING. Yes, all those capital letters are really necessary to announce that fact. The sun is out and if you’re planning on doing some outside work with your students, here are four activity ideas for using iPads outside when there’s no access to Wifi.

1. The Basics: QR code scavenger hunt

Make and print some QR codes, tape them up outside, and have each code lead to an image with directions for an activity. Working on foreign language acquisition? Post the directions in the target language! Are fractions on the agenda? Have the QR codes lead to an equation whose solution equals a number found in the next location of the hunt! Vocab time? How about anagrams that unscramble to reveal the next location or a key part of the instructions! QR codes are simple, powerful and lend themselves to a ton of different activities. What would make it really powerful would be for the students themselves to create the questions…

This online QR Code Treasure Hunt Generator lets you create your hunt quickly and easily beforehand.
This online QR Code Treasure Hunt Generator lets you create your hunt quickly and easily beforehand.


2. App-smash with Dino Defend!

Students break into groups, pick a plastic dinosaur out of a bucket (blind pick) and then have to keep their dinosaur alive to the end of the trail. As they move through the landscape, they’ll need to complete and document 4 challenges related to their dinosaur. Challenges could have math, science and reading comprehension worked in, as well as compelling students to really think about the Gorge and evolutionary geology. So many apps could help answer the following challenges:
  1. Geography: What features of the landscape would prove beneficial/problematic for your dinosaur? Suggested apps: 30Hands, Notability 
  2. Famine/Overpopulation: What does your dinosaur eat? What could they eat in this area? Suggested apps: HaikuDeck, Notability
  3. Predator attack: What are some of your dinosaur’s predators? Are they or were they found in this area? Bonus points for teaming up with another group and enacting a pitched battle scene. Suggested apps: iMovie.
  4. Defamation! An upstart archeologist has written a tract all about how your dinosaur should go extinct already. Each dinosaur has been offered a 30-second video promo spot to respond to the allegations. How does your dinosaur explain its value to the environment? Suggested apps: Touchcast, iMovie

Please note: badgers, bears, frogs or any other type of animal can be substituted for the dinosaurs, as appropriate for your curriculum.

But it just won’t be the same without all those RAR noises.

"Predator Challenge! This diplodocus is about to be eaten by a giant Boston terrier. In 200 words, explain why this situation is implausible."
“Predator Challenge! This diplodocus is about to be eaten by a giant Boston terrier. In 200 words, explain why this situation is implausible.”


3. Collect & Reflect with Picture This

Colorado educator Anne Beninghof came up with the great idea of using the Corkulous app to let students assemble boards that feature audio, video, image and written reflections of their trek. Get creative, assign each group a different theme, area of the landscape or time period to work with. This could also work with LinoIt.


4. For the Math folks: AngleJam!

The FieldProjector app allows you to calculate the angles of objects captured with the iPad camera, as well as determining their scale in relation to other objects. Combine this with the QR codes to create a series of challenges around capturing different types of angles:

“It’s time for the annual AngleJam but sadly, no angles have shown up yet to the party! They’re too busy running wiiiiiiiiiiild. It’s up to you to go out and grab them. Head outside / to the jungle gym / to the trailhead, where you’ll find a QR code specifying how to bring in the first of your math guests.”

Bonus points for having students create the angles out of twigs, rock bridges, their arms, etc exactly like this Australian class did.

"The 90 has been spotted! Repeat: we have a visual on the 90! Invitation delivered!"
“The 90 has been spotted! Repeat: we have a visual on the 90! Invitation delivered!”

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading out into this beautiful sunshine to help a stegosaurus work on using less tail-spike in its rebuttal. Have a great weekend, everyone!


*This post grew from a discussion over on the iPadEd Google+ community. Joyful thanks to Lara Jensen, Karen Redmond, Peggy Matthews, Karie Carpenter, Anne Beninghof, Robert Payne, Lee MacArthur, Laura Mahoney, Jose Luis Gutierrez and Christopher Averill for the brainstorming.

Think outside the app: 3 outstanding examples of app-smashing


Despite sounding like a weird potato-fruit dish, app-smashing gets your students thinking less about apps and more about tasks. Hopefully with a minimum of actual smashing.

App-smashing is when you give students a specific assignment that can best be solved using more than one app. iPads4Teachers has a fantastic overview of app-smashing here.


Sounds good, but I need examples

You got ’em!

1. Video cards

Sylvia Duckworth, an elementary grades French teacher in Canada, created Mother’s Day video cards by taking screenshots with HaikuDeck, then importing those into iMovie to add voice and music. The result, you’ll agree, is simply smashing*!


2. Cultural anthropology

A group of students at the Cabot School in Vermont tackled a cultural anthropology project by using iPhones to record audio interviews they did with community members, editing the audio in GarageBand, then embedding the results in a map with Thinglink. Smash!


3. Show your work: demonstrate your solution to the problem

Susan Hennessey put together the above video as part of an assignment for the MOOC Creativity: Music to My Ears. She writes:

We were tasked with picking a problem, brainstorming 100 possible solutions for how music could help solve it (on a shared Google doc) and then selecting 2 or 3 to create a novel solution.  We were given 1-minute to present the problem and solution.  Since we were working with middle level students, we wanted to defer to what they liked about the 100 possibilities.  The two profiled by the Tellagamis are the top two selected.

Google Docs + Tellagamis + iMovie. A novel approach to the assignment, which, after all, is what app-smashing is all about.


What are some ways you’ve used app-smashing in your classroom?



*I’m actually obligated by law to make that pun at least once during this blogpost. True story.

Video creation and editing apps for the classroom

What tools you use are missing from this list?

DragonTape Explain Everything iMotion PhotoStory Reel Director Silent Film Studio Vine Touchcast iMovie HTML Map

I sat down this afternoon to brainstorm a list of video editing, creation and mashup apps that could be useful for educators. Above you’ll find the nine I came up with off the top of my head, all of which I’ve either used or seen used in the classroom. But I know I’m missing some.

Here are some sample lesson plans or how-to’s for each of the video apps above:







  • iMovie: Essex Middle School Edge students use it to make book trailers:


  • Touchcast: Peoples Academy Middle Level 8th graders made STEM-focused Touchcasts to illustrate distance over time:
"An alien named Athena lives on Mars, and goes to school. Athena's house is a spaceship. When she left to go to school, she realized she left something about half way...."
“An alien named Athena lives on Mars, and goes to school. Athena’s house is a spaceship. When she left to go to school, she realized she left something about half way….”


  • ReelDirector: How about a video story of one classroom’s activities?




And this educator handed over the iPad to her own kids, asked for a stop-motion video and was astonished by how many apps they wound up using to create their magnum opus, Invasion:

What video creation / editing / mashup / squish / bash / remix tools are you and your students using?

Brian Wagner on: Aurasma and the Periodic Table

An augmented reality periodic table

One of our partner educators, Brian Wagner, teaches eighth grade science at Harwood Union Middle School, in Moretown VT. This past spring, he used Aurasma with his students to bring elements of the periodic table to life in a gallery walk.

The Rube Goldberg Challenge was not a good fit for the Aurasma app as a means of documenting thinking over time, but it proved to be a good tool for students to teach each other about the periodic table.

In essence, students jig-sawed their knowledge about specific sections of the Periodic Table to create a larger perspective about the trends, patterns, and curiosities of table.

Memorizing the elements of the periodic table is a complete waste of time (a personal opinion but one generally recognized as valid).

Understanding the information stored in the table because of the way it is constructed unlocks chemistry at a deeper level. The author Sam Keane in his book The Disappearing Spoon writes that “…at its simplest level, the periodic table catalogs all the different kinds of matter in our universe, the hundred-odd characters whose headstrong personalities give rise to everything we see and touch. The shape of the table also gives scientific clues as to how those personalities mingle with one another in crowds….”

My objective for this activity is for students to begin to recognize the trends and personalities and teach each other about different sections using Augmented Reality. The assignment is presented in the attached file- The Periodic Table Assignment 2013

The students researched as per the assignment criteria and prepared a video presentation of their element group. They were allowed to create the video in periodicpullwhatever manner they wanted- many did not want to be onscreen but talked through their information while writing it out on paper. Some used a chalk board for added effect. Others set it up as a news cast. Each group created a simple Aura (trigger) to activate the video.

The Auras were placed around the middle school Gallery in their respective groups and an iPad was stationed at each of these areas to use for the video presentation. Students rotated throughout the gallery, watching each other’s videos and taking notes about each section. Initially I wanted each student group to prepare an annotated photo of a periodic table with the information they collected. This would act as a summarizing aspect to their learning. Unfortunately there was not enough time to go through the gallery walk and do the Skitch challenge. The following day we lost our Wi-Fi , the iPads were needed for other classes when it returned, and the opportunity was lost.
During the class time with no internet, students took a quick quiz about the periodic table. The quiz was used as a means to discuss their findings further and clear up misconceptions that arose during their research. There will be a follow-up summative quiz (using Socrative) to determine how much information has been internalized. That will be a separate post.

The use of the Aurasma app was received well by students for this activity. They saw the value in researching, outlining, and preparing a presentation that others would learn from.

Because their audience was a little bigger (the entire 8th grade) they took more time to prepare and shoot the video (manyappsglance with multiple takes to get it right). Their personal creativity was valued and the questions that arose from their research made good conversations that would have been missing from a straight up lecture about the topic.

One of the drawbacks to the app was having to hold the iPad over the Aura while watching the video. However, one student figured out that by double tapping on the video while it was playing would take the video to full screen and allow it continue playing in any position. iMovie would also be a preferred video tool for making the videos more polished.

Unfortunately iMovie is not on our iPads yet, although one student convinced me to download it for him, where he proceeded to take three individual videos his group made into one smooth presentation.

Continue reading Brian Wagner on: Aurasma and the Periodic Table

Book trailers from the Edge

Students at Essex Middle School recently hosted a morning at the movies, and as part of the April 9th Celebration of Learning, shared their iMovie book trailers for The Hobbit, The Giver, Hostage to War, The Hobbit, The Amulet of Samarkand, Holes, Schooled, The Hobbit (v. popular book), and Cracker.

As facilitator Lindsey Slan Halman explained, the students had been forbidden to use any images off the internet, and thus got extra creative with their staging, imagery, props and acting. We think the students did an amazing job, and would like to thank them for being so willing to share their work.