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Hello faithful Hoppin' readers . . . It's Kelley Dolling from Teacher Idea Factory. I'm here today to talk to you about that special End of the Year Video.  (Did I really just type that?  I cannot believe that it is already time to put one of these sweet movies together.)

I know I posted about this last year, but I got some great ideas from the comments during the last go around and figured I'd see if I could draw more classroom movie goodness out of the woodwork.  Do you make a video for your babes?  If yes, I'd love for you to share your thoughts and tips below!  Keep reading to see my current classroom movie vision . . .   

Personally, I use iMovie.  I find it VERY user friendly for all types of movie makers.  You can slap one together or get ├╝ber precise (just call me Kelley Speilberg come early-May). You can pick from numerous themes/templates (I always go with the photo album version (but that's just me). I totally dig that you just drag and drop the pictures you want included into the project section.

You can have the computer dictate the length on each photo or you can easily adjust it.  Cropping and adding motion is easy too.  However, this is what takes the MOST time.  I probably spent roughly 10-12 hours on my video last year, but I am obsessed.  You could knock one out in a few hours . . . don't let my obscene numbers scare you off!

I always progress through the year rather than going by theme, so the parents can see their babies grow.  And, let's be honest . . . it's how I think.  

Last year's video is 22:20 minutes in length.  I know.  I know.  I ALWAYS GO WAY OVERBOARD.  I just can't help myself.  My goal is to get the kiddos in numerous times throughout the gig.  To ensure that everyone's screen time is pretty even, I preview sections of the video as I make them.  I print out a class list and tally every time I see one of my babes on screen.  This will mark my 8th year of making one of these and I still will catch about two poor kiddos who are kind of "left out."  By previewing as I go, I am able to slip additional photos of these little cuties into the mix before going public!   

I believe that music makes the whole gosh darn thing and I have a strategy that I implement each year.  You hook 'em in with a cute peppy tune.  Then you slow it down a bit.  Next, you transition into a dreamy misty-eyed song.  You must pick it back up and save the day with a happy song.  Depending how long you are, you may need another heartfelt song here with super deep meaning (I suggest that it's an upbeat track as well). Finally, go for the big finish . . . insert the song that can move mountains.  You know - that one perfect song that will bring 'em to their knees.

Now, I choose to take the music aspect a step further . . . but, then again, I'm a nut.  I actually add movement with the pictures to match the music.  Peppy songs have quicker transitions.  The slower ballad-type tunes get slower fluid movements.  I add fades to the beginning/end of each audio clip for dramatic effect.  I also trim songs to increase variety.  {Now that I've typed that, I can see the ridiculousness in my detail driven productions . . . but, it still makes me smile, and again, I just can't help myself.}

Speaking of music, below I listed out the song line up that made the final director's cut last year . . .

1) We Belong Together - Randy Newman (fun intro)
2) Rainbow Connection - Weezer w/ Hayley Williams (BEST version ever)
3) Happy - Pharrell Williams (perfect pick me up - I trimmed it down)
4) Perfect Gift - Natalie Hemby (aligns with Christmas photos in movie)
5) Somewhere Over the Rainbow - IZ (need I say more)
6) Forever Young - Bob Dylan (love the message - I trimmed this one too)
7) Never Grow Up - Alyssa Golden (grab your tissues).

I change up the order and song usage every year - I don't want siblings to get the same movie.  Here are some AMAZING songs that also fit into these movies so well . . . 

You've Got a Friend In Me - Randy Newman
Monsters Inc. Intro - Randy Newman
Three Little Birds - Bob Marley
You Are My Sunshine - Ray Charles
In My Life - Beatles
Good Life - One Republic (get the clean version)
Bright Side of the Road - Van Morrison
Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head - Burt Bacharach

**Count On Me (Bruno Mars) is definitely on my list this year!!!

There you have it. That's my theory for creating amazing movies each and every year (in a nutshell).  Oh, and just for the record, it ain't just the parents who tear up in my room every year.  By the time it's all said and done, I have probably seen the the video at least 12-15 times to help desensitize myself. However, I still loose it a little every time I watch it with the parents that first time (Open House).  I have to go to my "happy" spot.  What can I say?  I am a total sap.  And, they were my babies for an ENTIRE year . . . sigh.  

On a mildly related note, the first screening of this is shown at Open House. (Last year I was all done 1.5 week early.  Here's an insider secret -- I haven't started it this year . . . GULP.  I have until 5/21, but  starting this late makes my upper lip sweat just a little.)  Anyway, I digress.  On Open House, I set up the desks, get all dolled up, and tape a special sign to the TV.  It just adds a little extra "sizzle" to the movie premiere :)  

CLICK HERE to grab this sign :)
I do give copies to parents as my end of the year gift, but it is just too insane to get them all copied right now.  So, I wait to dish these out until the end of the year.  You can also milk an extra activity out of these disks.  Instead of me making a cover for the movie, the kids create their own.  I simply provide a piece of paper cut to the size of the DVD holder and let the kids fly.  They always take such pride in their work - slate a good 30 minutes for this activity. 

Alright, that's my low-down on how I roll with and EOY Class Movie.  Thanks for visiting my friends!  Again, if you have anything to add or share on how you create your flick or which music you are rollin' with this year, I'd love to hear it! Merry Saturday my friends . . . I'll see ya soon :)


  1. Do you find that when you burn the movie to a dvd the pictures lose quality? If not how do you do it? Do you burn it as a movie or as a file? I love doing a movie for my kids but hate that the picture always look so degraded when I burn the movie to a dvd and play it on a big screen.

    1. The quality always deteriorates for me too. It drives me crazy too. Not sure of a work around at this point, but I try to distract my audience with graphics and the music. Hehehehe :) Thanks for asking. If anyone knows an answer to this problem, let us know!!!

  2. For those who don't have an Apple product, I use WeVideo online and love it! It connects right to your Google Drive.