My Simple Show: Create your own explainer videos for free!

Create  explainer videos free with My Simple Show!

What it is: My Simple Show Video Creator lets students easily create professional level “explainer” videos. The finished product looks just like a Common Craft video, so cool! The step-by-step tool helps students think about storyline and the flow of explaining a concept.

How to integrate My Simple Show into the classroom: My Simple Show is a fantastic option for digital storytelling. Students begin by choosing to write their own script, or by uploading a Power Point presentation. Next, they can choose from one of many templates to start from, or alternately, start from scratch. The templates are an awesome option because they give kids an outline and break down the story telling/explaining process. For each step in the process, it guides students with a prompt and with some examples. My Simple Show auto-magically picks up words in the script and suggests pictures. Students can use the pre-selected images, choose an image from the My Simple Show library of images, or upload their own image or picture. In the final step, students add audio. This can be computer generated or students can record their own audio. The finished product is pretty impressive! Below is a video I made quickly today.

My Simple Show’s obvious use is for explanatory digital storytelling, but it would also be a great way for students to reflect on a field trip, tell a story, retell new learning (pssst. this is an awesome way to check for understanding!), or create their own “textbooks.”

Students can use My Simple Show to explain a historical event, introduce a biological process, introduce a physical law, summarize literature, summarize a biography, discuss pros and cons, explain a law, etc. Use My Simple Show to create whole class stories where each student contributes a portion of the explanation or story.  This type of video can be made over a few weeks using classroom devices as a writing center.  This would be a fun way to create an A to Z type book of learning, reflections by students after a unit, a 100 day video,  fact vs. opinion video,  a class video of poems, a phonics video, or a class video about a field trip that students took. Students can take pictures of science experiments and create a digital video detailing the experiment with text, images, and student voice reflections included.  The finished product can be shared with parents and families easily through YouTube, Vimeo, or downloaded as a MP4 file.

For a back to school night activity, take a picture of each student to add to a class video and record students sharing an explanation of a school day. This same idea could be used in preparation for parent-teacher conferences. Students can create a video about their learning during the quarter/trimester, record thoughts about why they are proud of the work they did, and add reflections.  These can be shared as a starting point for conferences, at the end of the conference, parents have a keepsake. My Simple Show could also be used for character education. Give the students a scenario or problem, and have them work out a step-by-step explanation or solution.

Because of the voice recording capabilities, My Simple Show, would be a great way for students to practice a foreign language.  They can illustrate a word or phrase accompanied by the audio.  Classes could work together to create a “living” digital glossary.

Be sure to give your students access to My Simple Show in your Maker Space, it is a great option for students to choose!

Tips: My Simple Show has video guides that lead students through each step of the process…I definitely recommend watching these at least once as a class or for the first round of creation!

Kids in the House

What it is: Kids in the House is a great website for kids to learn about Congress, how laws are made, about the Clerk, and the history of the House of Representatives. This interactive site includes great links, definitions, explanations, and games. It also features a section called “Tools for Learning” where teachers can find educational resources and a lesson plan library.

How to integrate Kids in the House to the classroom: Take a break from the text book for this one. Kids in the House will help your students understand how Congress works, how laws are made, and the ins and outs of the House of Representatives. This is a good one to use before our election in November. Kids in the House uses kid-friendly language and cartoons that will really help your kids understand what can be a difficult subject to get a handle on. Use the site over several days as a sort of webquest. The Time Traveler section will teach them about the history of the House of Representatives, then take a virtual field trip of the Capitol Complex, the House Chamber, and the National Statuary Hall Collection, finish up the mini unit with games that reinforce what students have learned on Kids in the House. As a side note, this is way better than the way I learned (or didn’t) about the House of Representatives! This site could be used by the whole class in a lab setting or set up as a learning center in the one or two computer classroom.

Tips: The glossary on Kids in the House is a great one, as students are exploring the site, the glossary changes based on the key terms of the page. Students can look up words as they are working.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Kids in the House in your classroom.