You Oughta Know!

Are you a technology lover? If you are, I think one of the coolest things You Oughta Know about is… PHOTO STORY 3!
Photo Story 3 is a FREE computer program that allows you to transform your students' work into mini movies! It is super easy, fun, and your kids will love it!
We all know how important writing is in the classroom. My kindergarten students write 8 books throughout the school year, but not all of them love writing. I needed to find a way to get them all excited about writing. Well, when they heard that we were not just writing books for this unit, but we were writing books that were going to be turned into MOVIES, you bet they were all excited! 
We began this writing unit like any other: immersion, generating ideas, and writing a draft. This unit was all about how-to books, so we read a few how-to style books (How to Draw People, Making Vegetable Soup, Making Pizza, and How To Lose All Your Friends), and then we thought of a few things that WE could teach other people how to do. 
Once we selected our idea, we began writing our rough draft. Then, we edited our work and added either numbers or transition words. Finally, it was time to write our final copy! This copy was not in book form, but written as a script! My kiddos then created an illustration for each step of their how-to script. 
Next, the fun began! I collected all of the illustrations, and began taking pictures of them and uploading them to Photo Story 3. I selected transitions that I liked best, made a title page for each student, and timed each slide. My students chose a partner, and practiced their fluency by reading their script over and over. When they felt that they were reading fluently, they came to me to record their voice over.
The great part about Photo Story 3 is that you can record your voice over for each slide separately. This means that my students only had to record one step at a time, which allowed for easy re-recording if anything went wrong! 
Once their voice over was all set, I published the video and uploaded it to a private YouTube channel. I also had each student design a cover for their story to hang in the hallway. I added a QR code that linked back to their video on YouTube so that people can scan the code and view their movie!
At the end, we planned a movie screening and invited all of the other kindergarten classes to come. We wrote invitations, decorated tickets, and took movie star photos. The three other kindergarten classes all gathered in our room where we watched each how-to video while enjoying popcorn just like at a real movie! My kiddos had a BLAST, and they were SO proud of themselves! {I was like a proud mom, too!}
Want to see a sample? This is the how-to video that my teammate, Barb, made. I wish I could show you one of my student's videos! Click here to watch the sample.
I highly recommend giving Photo Story 3 a try in your classroom! It is very user friendly, and adds an element of excitement to your students' work. I know I will definitely be using it again for our how-to unit next year! Click here to download it for free, and then hop along to see what other great ideas my teacher-blogger friends have to share with you!
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  1. Thanks for sharing. I love this idea to help students enjoy writing and reading.

  2. This is so adorable! Do you think it would work well for 3rd-5th graders with longer writing too?

    A LoveLi Class

    1. Hi there! Yes, you can definitely do this with older students. You can even think beyond writing a book/movie. The training that I went to was actually introducing it as doing book trailers (an alternative to a book report) with older students. We modified it down for K. If you google 'digital storytelling' you will get a lot of ideas!


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