My Books from GoodReads

Hope Was Here
Copper Sun
The Hunger Games
Hip-Hop High School
A Brief Chapter in My 

Impossible Life
The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, 

The Last Olympian
The Ruins of Gorlan
The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp
Breaking Dawn
I'll Be There
The Knife of Never 

Letting Go
Thirteen Reasons Why
The London Eye Mystery

Some of Mr. Padula's Favorite Books

Sunday, December 4, 2011


In case you haven't seen the FLOOD of messages on the #sschat Twitter feed, NCSS (National Council of Social Studies) held their 2011 conference this weekend in Washington D.C. Among the many presenters were a number of the "heavy-twitters" from SSCHAT.

Ron Peck was kind enough to post a link to his presentation about Video in the Classroom. It gives a great overview of Common Craft video formats as well as Animoto. Ron also posted an amazing set of links that I spent hours pouring over. I knew nothing about either technology, so I decided to take a look.

Common Craft seems like an awesome style of video. Their bare-bones characters and 'animation' (which consists of literally dragging paper images on and off the screen) make the end product look very home-spun and simplistic, but powerful at the same time. The sample video, Electing a U.S. President (in Plain English), is a great example of Common Craft at its finest.

On the flip-side, there was also a link to a 'behind the scenes' video that shows one class' experience creating a Common Craft video. I almost passed this one by, but when I saw it was from Paul Bogush, I took note. (I'm a huge fan of Paul and his excellent blog). This video put Common Craft-ing in a different light for me. The planning, creation and execution of all those zillion little moves - all to tell a 2-3 minute story - seemed like a big hurdle for me and my students to leap.

Then, I started down the Animoto path. Now, this was something that seemed a bit more manageable for me in the classroom. Once I had an idea for what I wanted to capture (in this case, it was the recent flooding in Thailand), it turned out to be very simple. (To be honest - the hardest thing was settling on a soundtrack!)..

Anyway, after finding a few pictures and converting my moldy WMA file to MP3, this video took me all of 3 minutes to create:

I am going to ask around and get some feedback from teachers using Common Craft videos. (I'm not giving up yet!)... In the meantime, I'm going to start thinking about "Animoto-izing" a few future assessments.

Thanks for the creative shot in the arm, Ron!!