Poster Session

Monday Evaluation

Using GarageBand and iMovie to Build Personal Narratives

Jennifer Skalski

12/12/11, 11:45 AM-12:35 PM
Poster Table 5

Add another dimension your students' writing. Create a personal narrative movie using iMovie, iPhoto, and GarageBand to bring their writing to life.



In this unit students are asked to capture their life in a 1-minute movie. The movie includes a poem, music, and pictures that represent the memories, sounds, smells, and sights that are a part of their lives.

1. Write your personal narrative. Use the inspiration of George Ella Lyon’s “Where I’m From” to create a poem about yourself.

2. Build your soundtrack. Use GarageBand to create a song that represents your musical style and record yourself reading your narrative.
  • Students with little/no experience in GB can quickly make a song using "Magic GarageBand". Students with more experience can create an original song that's approximately 1 minute long.
  • Add a vocal track to your song and record yourself reading your poem. I tell students to allow the music to get started, take a deep breath, then begin recording. When the soundtrack is added to the movie this allows time for the opening titles to show.
  • Share (export song to disc) your songs from GB and select 'yes' for the iLife Preview.
  • The song can be moved to a file server for easier access.

3. Collect your images. Make a ‘shot list’ of images that would illustrate your narrative and collect digital photos from home or the Internet.
  • Students create a list of approximately 17 images that would represent the words and memories that are alluded to in their poems.
  • Students may bring digital pics from home on a flash drive, CD, or via email. Emphasize the need for them to be (.jpg) files.
  • I share the following list of websites with students. These sites allow students to use their images in student projects without requesting additional permission. Credit is given to these sites in the credits that all students run at the end of their movies. Students who cannot find their images at these sites will use other sources and they are required to add those sources to their credits.
  • FreeFoto
  • Gimp Savvy
  • Pics 4 Learning
  • Classroom ClipArt
  • Free Media Goo
  • Free Pixels
  • Free Images
  • Nations Illustrated
  • Students collect and edit their images in iPhoto.

4. Put it all together. Use iMovie to bring your images and soundtrack together. Add titles, credits, and timings to give it a professional touch.
  • Students begin with titles.
  • Add images.
  • Bring in your soundtrack.
  • Create closing credits.
  • Add transitions.
  • Adjust the timing of the images to match the length of the soundtrack.
  • Share/Export as a QuickTIme movie.

5. Share your story with others.
  • My students have shared their projects at fifth grade graduation, DARE graduation, parent conferences, and within the classroom.
  • We have hosted a 'Red Carpet Event' and invited parents to join us during the school day for the unveiling of the completed project.
  • Students take the projects home on flash drive or CD.
  • We plan to share them with other schools but I'm in the process of connecting with teachers to make this successful.