Want to make creations as awesome as this one?


Making BetteriMovie Lessons

Move from basic screencasting to next-level video lessons!

Course Index

Get to where you need to go!


What You'll Learn

Unit 1

Some Basics


You Try It!

Unit 2

Planning the Video

Unit 3

Making the Video


  1. The basics of iMovie & Garageband
  2. How to plan engaging videos
  3. How to use sketch format to hold attention
  4. How to make videos interactive
  5. How to incorporate extra resources to make videos more engaging

Making Better Video Lessons

You'll understand:

What you'll learn in this course!


Welcome to this PD course!

Course Overview

What to expect in this course

Welcome! This course is split into multiple modules that are designed for you to move through in order at your own pace. The index and navigation allow you to stop and restart your learning throughout the module at any point. The modules are a mix of direct learning and hands-on projects that will involve iMovie, Garageband, and other internet resources. There are some small projects to try or questions to

consider throughout to help you practice and apply learning if you'd like! My hope is that you will leave this course feeling more confident in your ability to create exciting and engaging video lessons for your students, no matter what you teach!

Some Basics

Unit 1

A basic overview/ review of iMovie and Garageband

If you already feel pretty confident with using iMovie/ Garageband, you may be okay to skip ahead to the activity at the end of this unit! If you need a refresher or haven't used these programs much, this unit is for you!

Unit 1

Skills you should know

  • How to create a new movie project in iMovie
  • How to add media (video clips, photos, audio) to your project
  • How to rearrange media in your project
  • How to layer multiple audio tracks (narration and background music)
  • How to add transitions, titles, and credits
  • How to export your completed movie to a file in Finder or to YouTube


  • How to record audio on a single track
  • How to select a pre-set track type (vocal narration)
  • How to edit, cut, and re-record audio
  • How to use the "Noise Gate" feature to minimize distracting background sounds
  • How to export audio from Garageband to a file in Finder


Unit 1

Learn or Review

If you aren't confident in your iMovie or Garageband skills, you can use this compilation of resources for each app to brush up on your knowledge. There are videos tutorials, articles, etc. so that you can choose the learning that works best for you!

Click on either image to open a window of resources for that specific app. If you have more specific questions about how to do something in iMovie or Garageband that isn't covered here, please don't hesitate to reach out to me!

iMovie Learning Resources The Basics

  • iMovie Basics: Video editing
  • iMovie: 10 Easy Tips for Beginners
  • Storyblocks: Beginner's Guide to iMovie
  • iMovie Basics PowerPoint from Elmhurst Public Library
Extras (Above-and-Beyond Stuff)
  • Adding animated text & doodles to your videos
Note: She does this in Final Cut Pro & the Sketchbook iPad app, but you can follow this EXACT same process step-by-step in iMovie and Adobe Photoshop. Everything from taking the screenshots to importing the pictures to photoshop to creating the layers works exactly the same, the only difference is that most people find it more challenging to "write" on a MacBook trackpad. If you have a smartphone, you could download Sketchbook or a similar app and use any cheap stylus in place of the iPad and achieve the same effect as well!
  • How to Put Hand-Written Text in iMovie
Note: This is a somewhat similar (but easier) process to the one described in the previous video. It uses iMovie and Keynote, both of which are on your Mac. While the guy in the video only does hand-written text, you could use this exact same process and any image with a transparent background in Keynote to put any image on top of your video. If you want to animate the text or image, you need to create multiple green screen slides in Keynote where you move the image or text around in a stop-motion manner as described in the previous video. Then, import all of those photos into your iMovie timeline, make them super short, and it will create an animated effect!

GarageBand Learning Resources Basics:

  • GarageBand Tutorial for Beginners
  • The GarageBand Guide Website
  • Guide to GarageBand
  • How to Create a Podcast with GarageBand (A.K.A. - an audio narration file)
  • Using the Noise Gate Feature to Reduce Background Noise
Note: If you use noise gate and your audio starts to sound "jumpy," the noise gate is TOO HIGH. Walk it back a decibel or two at a time until you reach a point where you can hear your audio clearly. Noise gate works best when your narration is at a consistent volume throughout, and I highly recommend turning off your AC/ heat while recording as that can add a massive amount of hiss to your recording that's hard to cover up even with noise gate.

Unit 1

You-Try-It Project

Create a 20ish-second movie in iMovie that includes:

Assignment 1

The movie can be on any topic you want, but the ready-to-use assignment resources from TPT are summer-themed. Consider making a clip about your favorite part of summer!

  • a title and 2+ transitions
  • narration recorded in GarageBand
  • at least one video clip (attached from TPT)
  • at least two photos (attached from TPT)
  • background audio (you can use any of the jingles in iMovie or add your own!)


Unit 2

Planning and prep for the ultimate video lesson!

Unit 2


Preparation is key.

Planning for next-level video lessons.

While knowing how to take advantage of iMovie features is important, it's equally (if not more) important to go into your video lesson with a solid plan. This module is designed to help you think through the planning part of the video and share with you some of the tips and tricks I've discovered for making your video lessons more engaging, even if they're long!

Unit 2

Plan Your Video Lesson

Planning your video lesson in advance will help you make efficient use of your video-making time and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. It's easy to fall down a rabbit hole and spend hours looking for the 'perfect' resources, etc. A plan will help you stay organized and work smarter, not harder.

Start by planning for your video the same way you'd plan for any direct instruction lesson on the same content. What topic are you teaching, what scope of material on this topic will you cover, and what sequence makes most sense to introduce that material? How in-depth will you go? Are there multiple sub-topics to include? Most importantly, how can you chunk up all this content into smaller segments? If you are converting lessons you previously taught via a slideshow in class, looking at how the content was chunked on each slide could help you decide how to chunk it now.

Another essential element to plan before you jump into creating is time. There are two key time-related decisions to make: First, how long will the video be? This obviously depends not only on the scope of the topic, but also on what's developmentally appropriate for the age group you teach. (That being said, in a moment you'll learn a brain-based hack for making longer videos and covering more content in a single sitting!) The second decision is about your time- what's the maximum amount of time you're willing to spend making this video? Be firm on this! Avoid the rabbit hole!

Why Plan

How to Plan


Unit 2

Secrets Revealed

Keeping student attention

for a whole lesson is a struggle!

We know from brain research that students can only attend to new content for short chunks of time. If you're asking students to watch a video where you aren't physically present to monitor them, this can be even trickier! However, there is another brain-based secret you can hack to allow you to make longer videos that keep your students engaged the whole time! Click the image on the right to watch the video & learn more!

Unit 2

Interactive Videos

Chunking your videos

allows for different types of experiences!

Using the "sketch" video format, or even just thinking of your video as a series of chunks or elements, allows you to brainstorm and build in some different types of experiences for your students and make your videos more interactive! Click the photo to the left to watch a short video with some suggestions for building video lessons that engage your students and follow best practices for learning!

Unit 2


Brainstorm a video lesson for a concept or topic you teach! Try to come up 1-2 ideas for interactive video activities around this concept, and a few creative ideas for content chunks/ video brain breaks!

Assignment 2

Video-Making Resources

Unit 3

Websites & resources to take your video lessons to the next level!

Unit 3


This module is just here to introduce you to lots of awesome free resources for video creation. There are elements for visuals and audio as well as sites like EdPuzzle to explore! There are also some tips about audio balancing, uploading to YouTube, and more. Explore, enjoy, and then test your skills by creating a content video lesson of at least 5 minutes!

There are TONS of free resources

that can help you make awesome videos!


Unit 3

Video-Making Resources

These websites offer free stock video clips that you can download and use to build your own videos. These are my top go-to sites for video clips for my own lessons. Be sure to pay attention to copyright info- some clips require you to give credit to the creator (which you can do with a credits scroll at the end of your video). Don't be afraid to use Google, too, especially for finding content-related clips!

Stock Videos

Pixabay Pixabay offers not only a TON of great video clips, but they also have tons of stock photos, music, effects, and more. These are all designed and contributed by community members, and most clips don't even require you to give credit (though it's always a nice thing to do anyway)!

Videvo Videvo is another excellent resource for video clips, motion backgrounds, and a small selection of music and sound effects. Be sure to select the "Show All Clips" option in the menu and change it to "Free Clips" when you search!

Pexels Pexels is another great website with free video clips and stock photos, though the selection is not quite as wide as Pixabay's. I keep Pexels bookmarked, though, because it's good to have multiple places to search when trying to find the perfect clip.

Life of Vids Life of Vids is just one more great free video clip site to give you extra options during your stock video search!

Unit 3

Video-Making Resources

From sound effects to super-fun music, audio is an easy way to increase engagement in your video lessons. Here are a few sites that offer free audio to use in your video creation. As always, remember to pay attention to copyright and give credit to the artist when necessary!

Stock Audio

Pixabay Music A bunch of excellent songs across all sorts of genres, and the range of filter options helps you find the perfect track for whatever video you're making in a hurry!

Free-Stock-Music Free Stock Music has TONS of songs, but a lot of them are more poppy/ electronic in sound. There are some nice orchestral pieces, though, if you're doing a video project that's cinematic or dramatic in any way!

Bensound Bensound has free audio clips in a variety of genres! Some of my favorite background audio has come from this site.

Videvo Sound Effects Videvo does have a small handful of free music tracks, but they have a much greater variety of fun sound effects that can help you spice up your videos.

Unit 3

Video-Making Resources

EdPuzzle, uploading to YouTube, optional equipment upgrades, and a few other last-minute tips for great videos!

Other Stuff

Pixabay Music A bunch of excellent songs across all sorts of genres, and the range of filter options helps you find the perfect track for whatever video you're making in a hurry!

Uploading to YouTube - Tips & Advice If you only ever plan to post a video lesson to Google Classroom for your current group of students, then I would recommend uploading your finished video lessons straight to Google Drive, where you can then easily attach them as part of an Assignment or Material post to Google Classroom. However, if you are planning to reuse this video lesson with future classes or are willing to share out your work so other teachers can use it, then I highly recommend uploading your video lessons to YouTube. They are easier to share on a variety of platforms, you'll know exactly where to find them in the future, and you can contribute to the larger educational community as well! Below are some guides and tips for uploading your videos to YouTube! Your first step is to create a channel for yourself on YouTube using your Google account. Once you've done that, now you're ready to begin uploading videos! Some Notes on Upload Settings: Unless your video features your students or is very obviously geared toward young/ elementary students, I highly recommend that you choose the "No, It's Not Made For Kids" option. This is because when you select "Yes," you are no longer able to add your video to playlists, and it can restrict the ability to share your video as freely. Secondly, if you're uploading your video only for your students but you don't want the general public to view, be sure to select "Unlisted" and NOT "Private." "Unlisted" allows you to share the link to your video with whoever you want but keeps the video from being searchable on the YouTube website. "Private" means that no one but you can see the video, even if you share the link. You can use the scheduling feature if you're posting videos in advance but don't want students to have access just yet- it works the same way as the scheduling feature on Google Classroom. If you want your students to watch a video live and synchronously (all at the same time), you can use YouTube Premier. This is the same feature our district used to share the 8th-grade graduation videos live with families.

EdPuzzle: An Intro EdPuzzle is a super-easy way to turn ANY video- including videos you've made yourself- into an interactive lesson. You can place questions & activities throughout the video to keep students interacting over the whole viewing experience! Below is an introduction to EdPuzzle and some tutorial videos to help you get started and get the most out of the website!

Optional Extra Equipment I want to preface this bit of advice by saying that you absolutely do NOT need to spend money or buy new, fancy equipment to make quality videos for your students. That being said, if you are planning to fully flip your classroom or are really into making video lessons, then it may be worth your time, money, and sanity to consider a few key upgrades. If you're going to get anything at all, my number one recommendation for hardware that will up the quality of your videos SIGNIFICANTLY is a decent USB microphone. I cannot emphasize enough how much an external microphone will improve the quality of your audio narrations, even if you're just narrating over screencast slideshows. If you are someone who has been hanging out with people virtually or attending lots of Zoom meetings during quarantine, the mic also vastly improves your sound quality there as well! While there are mics out there in a wide variety of price points, I personally recommend the Fifine K669 USB mic. This mic is around $30-35 usually, and you can't beat the sound quality for the price. If you're getting really into making videos, especially the creative aspect, a fun option to consider is a basic green screen kit. As with mics, there are lots of options at lots of price points, but you should be able to find a decent portable (foldable) green screen for around $30 online. I heard recently through the internet grapevine that a teacher somewhere successfully made a green screen out of neon green posterboard she got at Dollar Tree, but I haven't tried this myself and can't confirm. Using a solid-colored bedsheet can also allow you to do some green screen work, but most programs like iMovie are set up to only recognize a green background. Finally, if you are recording lots of videos with your lovely face in them, you want to make sure you are recording yourself in the best light (literally and metaphorically). There are ring lights and other professional recording lights out there, but even a desk lamp with a repositionable neck and a decent natural-looking light bulb can help a lot. This is particularly important if you're recording your videos at night or in spaces where there's no natural light coming in. More light= better contrast= better-looking videos.

Other Video Tips & Tricks Canva Canva is a really underrated resource for the amount it has to offer. Canva has a TON of great resources for making awesome videos. You can use the "presentation" template to make fun slides, titles, or transitions to go throughout your video. You can also use the "Video" template to take advantage of all the animations and video clips and editing tools Canva offers. Bonus- Canva offers a free pro subscription to educators, which unlocks all the premium fonts, elements, and features for you! You have to fill out a form and submit photo proof of employment (they accepted my school ID badge), and then it may take anywhere from a week to a month to hear back. Snap Camera Because deep down you know your students have always wanted you to teach an entire lesson as a potato. :D SnapCamera is a free program you can download to your computer from the creators of SnapChat. All those fun lenses you can use in SnapChat are available at your fingertips in SnapCamera. This is a great (and free!) way to bring some fun and unexpectedness to your video lessons, and it's super easy to use!

Unit 3

You-Try-It Project

Create a 5ish-minute movie in iMovie on a content topic you teach in your classroom. Include:

Assignment 3

The movie can be on any topic you want, but the idea is to make it about a topic you teach so you can use it with your students later!

  • a title, transitions, & credits as needed
  • narration recorded in GarageBand
  • stock video clips from any website of your choice
  • at least one video brain break/ transition
  • background audio (you can use any of the jingles in iMovie or add your own!)
  • optional: an interactive activity (multiple choice question, etc.)

When you're finished, submit your movie file to Google Classroom.