Module 5: Book and Comic Making

Welcome to the final module for this project! This week, we’ll be learning about making digital books and comic books.

Storyboard That

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Free for basic accounts, pricing available for a group of educational accounts with a 14-day trial.

Students can create storyboards for their creative writing projects or any sort of writing or presentations. Or, they can use Storyboard That as a stand-alone storytelling tool.

Make Beliefs

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Make 2, 3, or 4-panel comic strips using a variety of characters and backgrounds. You do not need an account to create a strip, but you have limited options for sharing and saving comics, unlike websites where you must create an account.


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Create digital 3D pop-up books! A free, basic account allows you to create 10 books, upload your own images for backgrounds and characters, and write 10-page stories. Paid accounts, starting at $10/month, allow for more books and pages, as well as student accounts that you can manage.

  • Read through the About Zooburst page
  • Watch this six-minute Zooburst video tutorial
  • Flip through some of these sample pop-up books. Remember to click on the exclamation point above a character to see their dialogue.
  • Create a free Zooburst account here and try your hand at making a pop-up book. Use the included clip art to write a brief story of your choice.


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StoryBird is a lovely website that allows you to make art-inspired picture books. Teachers can create a free account for up to 35 students in one “class,” which allows for unlimited stories, managed assignments, and sharing features. There are paid accounts also. Storybirds can be printed as books for a fee.


Module 4: Videos and Animation

While we’ve played around with some photo tools that create video-like products–namely Animoto–if you want to work with true videos and animations, here are some tools that can help you do just that. Please try to explore at least one in depth. The first two are best for younger children; the third for older children.


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Kerpoof is a storytelling website for kids in grades K-8.

Step 1

Step 2

Take a look at some of these sample movies made by kids:

Step 3

Step 4


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ABCYa is a site for kids in grades K-5 (I have used it with PreK also). We will be looking at its “Make an Animation” tool, but there are tons of resources on the site for a number of subjects and skills.

Step 1

Visit the Animation page and click on the blue Tutorial button to watch a brief video about using this tool.

Step 2

View this sample ABCYa animation (it’s hard to find examples!):

Read this review of the site from Graphite (be sure to click “read full review”).

Step 3

Make your own animation! Check out the video below for more help using the tool.

YouTube Video Editor

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Step 1

Step 2

See some examples of the YouTube Video Editor being used in the classroom:

Step 3

Try it! You can either use still photos (link to tutorial) or make a video using creative common-licensed content (click the CC button in the editor) or any of your own videos that you’ve uploaded to your YouTube account. NOTE: I recommend you log into YouTube using a Google account before you begin. I also highly recommend watching the tutorial before you start, since this tool is not as intuitive as some of the others we’ve looked at.

Other Video Creation Tools

  • PhotoPeach – create animated slideshows with photos and music. Super simple, no frills. A nice alternative to Animoto.
  • PowToon – create animated videos using a PowerPoint-like interface. More advanced, but very cool. Once you register, a tutorial begins to play automatically.

VoiceThread Alternative: Little Bird Tales

Little Bird Tales is an alternative to VoiceThread that allows you to record your voice over images.

VoiceThread has added a lot of restrictions to its free accounts since I last used it over the summer. Little Bird Tales has more features for free than VoiceThread. You can create student accounts and have them make their own Tales, too. Teacher features on the free account include free Lesson Plans for K-6. (There a premium ones, too, that you won’t be able to access with a free account.)

The free account offers 25 MB of storage space.

Premium accounts get 200 MB of storage space for your account and 100 MB for each student in your classes.

On Little Bird Tales, you can create a “tale,” which is a slideshow of images with an audio recording–much like VoiceThread. Students can either draw an image right in the program, upload images, or use an image from the clip art bank.

Give it a try! Register for free here.

Module 3: Working with Photos

Many of you shared with me that you use photos a great deal, either through sharing with families or documenting what’s happening in your classrooms. Here are three tools for using photos. Voicethread and Animoto are great ways for your students to share their knowledge, as well as for you to share photos with families in creative ways. Flickr is a powerful photo library tool that can also be integrated with your blogs.

To complete your work for this week, please choose TWO out of the three to explore. Follow the steps and then comment on this post with your thoughts. As always, please email me or comment on this post for help!


Step 1

Watch this Voicethead ABOUT Voicethreads.

Step 2

View these sample Voicethreads:

Step 3

Read over these ideas for using Voicethread in the classroom:

Step 4

Create a free Voicethread account and try making your own slide show. If you do not have access to a microphone, you can type your comments. Remember, Voicethread has a free iPad and iPhone app that makes it easy to use those device’s built-in microphones.


Step 1

Visit the Animoto for Educators page and read over the features.

Step 2

View the following classroom examples of Animoto presentations. Be sure to click the “full screen” button at the bottom right to view the slideshow in a larger format (see below).

Step 3

Check out some of these Animoto lesson plans.

Step 4

Register for an educational Animoto account and practice making your own Animoto video. Post a link to the video in the comments here. If you have an iPad, be sure to try the terrific Animoto app. It’s free.

Once you have registered, you can apply for a free Pro account, because you are a teacher. Here is a guide to getting started with Animoto for Education.


Step 1

Watch this video, Photo Sharing in Plain English

Read through the General Flickr Questions.

Step 2

Check out the following uses of Flickr in school:

Step 3

Check out the following ways to use Flickr in instruction:

  • Five Card Flickr (students tell stories based on five random Flickr images)
  • Bubblr (students add speech bubbles to Flickr images)
  • Mapr (search for Flickr images from specific places around the world)
  • Phrasr (students find images that illustrate phrases)
  • Bookr (create short photo books with Flickr images)

Step 4

  • Create a free Flickr account for your classroom or yourself. (Note: you are actually creating a Yahoo account, since Yahoo owns Flickr)
  • Try uploading a photo. Add a description, tag, add the photo to a new set.
  • Explore the galleries
  • Explore the world map
  • Try finding the URL of your photo to share

Welcome to Module 2!

I’m really pleased with the work you did on Module 1; nice job! Hopefully, you were able to explore at least two tools and think a bit about how blogging might (or might not) work for your class.

Module 2 is all about Collaboration and Sharing. We’re going to look at tools that help you work collaboratively with fellow faculty or with students, as well as tools that help you share resources with groups. The four specific tools are:

  • Google docs
  • Wikispaces
  • Weebly
  • LiveBinders

To complete your work for this week, please choose TWO out of the four to explore. Follow the steps and then comment on this post with your thoughts. As always, please email me or comment on this post for help!

Google docs

Step 1

Watch this 2.5 minute video on Google Docs in Plain English

Step 2

Visit a few of these resources about using Google docs in the classroom:

Step 3

Browse through Google’s lesson plans. See the screenshots below for tips on limiting your results (click image to enlarge).


Click to englarge


Step 1

Watch Introduction to Wikispaces (there are MANY other great video tutorials on this page, too)

Watch Wikis in Plain English

Step 2

Check out a few of these classroom wikis:

Step 3

Visit Wikispaces and register for a free account. Once you do, you will have to create a new wiki. Call it anything you like. Then do the following (screencast follows, with help):

    1. Click on “settings” (top right)
    2. Click on “general” on the left
    3. Select “Wiki” under Application Type, then scroll down and save
    4. Click on “Wiki Home” (top right)
    5. Click “edit” to edit your new wiki!


Step 1

Watch “Welcome to Weebly”

Read about Collaborative Website Editing and watch the video on the page

Step 2

Visit some of the following classroom Weebly sites.

Step 3

Visit Weebly for Education and create a free account. Once you finish registering, you can watch a demo or create a website (I do not recommend setting up a class just yet). If you choose to create a website, Weebly will walk you through the steps. Try creating your site by dragging and dropping different elements onto the page!


Step 1

Watch this 1.5 minute video on LiveBinders for Teachers.

Step 2

Explore some of these classroom LiveBinders.

Step 3

Register on the LiveBinders website and click the “create binder” tab. Create a LiveBinder with at least one web page. When you set up your binder, use the following settings: Type in a title and description. Don’t worry about adding tabs. Select the “Education” category and make your binder public.

Module 1: Blogs

Welcome to Module 1!

Week 1 is your Introduction to this project, and therefore we’re exploring blogs. You are currently reading a blog, and this blog will serve as the online home of our professional development project.

Here are your tasks for the next two weeks. Details follow.

1) Register for a WordPress account

2) Learn about blogging

3) Choose two of the following three tools to explore

4) Comment on this post regarding one of those tools

Step 1: Registering for a WordPress account

Register. This account will allow you to comment on these blog posts. You may also want to use your WordPress blog later on, either as an individual blog or as a place to share with your students.


click image to enlarge

Step 2: What is blogging? 

Watch this video, Blogs in Plain English

Using blogs in the classroom

Check out the following blogs for examples of how some teachers are using this tool in the classroom.

Step 3: Choose two of the following three tools to explore

Register for one additional account (since you already registered for WordPress).

Here are some ideas for exploring the blogs you choose. You do not need to do all of these things, but do try to spend at least 30 minutes exploring each blogging platform.

  • Write a sample blog post on the WordPress blog that you set up when you created your account. You might write about something you heard about in the news that you think your students would like to discuss,  a thought about the book you’re reading in class, or a reflection on a recent project that your students worked on
  • Play around with the theme of your blog
  • Look at the blog’s settings
  • If available, look at the classroom management tools of the blog
  • Change your profile picture
  • Edit the “about” page of your blog

WordPress. You are using a WordPress blog right now. WordPress is not strictly for educational purposes. It is free, but you can upgrade your services. It offers numerous themes. It does not offer classroom management tools, and therefore may be best for single-user blogs. For more info on WordPress, click here (video).

Kidblog. Built specifically for classroom use. Allows you to create classes and users. More control over what students can and cannot do. Cannot be customized very much. Lots of privacy settings; easy to “lock down.” May be best for younger students. For more info, click here. 

Edublogs. Extremely similar to Kidblog, but with more options and features. May be more complicated to use, but may be more appealing to older students. For more info, click here (be sure to watch the video).

Step 4: Please comment on this post with your thoughts about ONE of the tools you explored. Make sure you’re logged into WordPress before you comment.

Some sample questions:

  • Do you think you would use this tool in the classroom? Why or why not?
  • What do you like best about this tool?
  • What do you like least?
  • What support do you think you would need in using it?
  • Do you have any ideas about how you might use this tool with your students? Or on your own?

Good luck! Please email me or comment on this post if you need support.