Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Cut It Out With iMovie

Video Creation Using Hand Drawn Illustrations

Laura Halstied, Keiana Cross | Published: May 19th, 2023 by K20 Center


Cut It Out

Students collaborate to summarize content, create illustrations, and record a brief video about a research topic or recently covered topic that demonstrates their expertise and understanding.

Cut It Out

With iMovie, it is possible to create videos as part of a unit or lesson, to introduce a concept, or to use for student products.




In this video, you’ll learn how to implement the Cut It Out instructional strategy using iMovie. 

The Cut It Out strategy can be found on K20’s LEARN site. This strategy actively engages students as they collaborate and problem-solve to show their learning. In this strategy students create images, cut them out, and then record a video about their topic.

iMovie is an app available for the iPhone or iPad only. It’s listed in the Tech Tools section of the LEARN website.

The benefits of using iMovie include giving students the option to easily shoot and edit their Cut It Out videos all in the same app.

In the How-To section, we’ll walk you through how to create a Cut It Out video using iMovie.

How-To Guide
  1. Before you begin, complete some basic setup to prepare a space for students to record their videos.

    For the best results, you’ll need:

    • A flat, blank surface to serve as the stage.

    • Plenty of light.

    • The cutout images students will move in and out of the frame to show their learning.

    • A space with minimal background noise.

    • A tripod, an iPhone or iPad stand, or anything to hold the camera steady.

    Make sure that the camera points down so it's parallel with the stage. Recording at an angle will distort images and text.

    When you have a space prepared, students can work with their groups to complete the steps that follow in this guide to record their videos.

    For more information, check out some of the additional resources listed.

  2. To begin recording, select the iMovie icon on your iPad or iPhone.

    Note that this tutorial was created with an iPad.

  3. Select the Movie button.

  4. Select the Create Movie button.

  5. Select the Camera icon.

  6. Select the Record button.

    When iMovie is recording, a red box appears with a time indicator that counts up.

  7. While recording, students should work together to record their videos. One student reads the summary but does not appear on camera. Other students slide the cut-out illustrations in and out of the frame to correspond with the portion of the summary being read.

    Students might need several takes to correctly time the illustration placement and flow for one continuous reading of the summary.

  8. To stop recording, select the Record button again.

  9. Select the Play button to review your video.

    If you want to record the video again, select the Retake button.

  10. Once you are satisfied with the video that you recorded, select the Use Video button.

  11. Select the Done button.

  12. To share the video, select the Share button.

  13. Select a method to share your video or save the video to the device.

    If you are sharing between iOS devices, such as from an iPad to a MacBook, we recommend using AirDrop.

  14. If you are recording any additional videos, select < Projects, and then repeat steps 3–13.

  15. To learn more about working with iMovie, check out the following resources:


When facilitating Cut It Out with iMovie, keep the following tips in mind. 

This strategy works best with small groups. We recommend groups of three or four.  

Carefully consider the grouping of your students. We recommend you choose the groups and group students based on their strengths. 

Students will need a few days to complete this activity, so plan accordingly. We recommend one day for students to write their summary, one day to create the illustrations, one day to practice, and one day to record.

Tip #3. This strategy is flexible, so consider making modifications to meet students where they are.

For students new to this strategy, or for younger students, consider providing sentence starters, a script template, or a short list of information that needs to be included. 

We recommend giving students a time limit of 1–2 minutes, depending on the subject matter. Consider allowing your advanced classes more time.

Use Cases

Use Cut It Out at the end of a unit as a way for students to show their learning.

In a math class, provide a problem to each group and ask them to create a Cut It Out video that shows and explains each step needed to solve a problem, such as how to balance an equation. 

Use these videos as tutorials for next year’s students.

In a social studies class, ask students to create a Cut It Out video explaining the presidential impeachment process. Or, provide a more specific prompt and ask students, “How did the media affect Nixon’s presidency?”

For a science class, ask students to create a video showing the energy flow of a food web–from the organism being eaten to the organism consuming.

In an ELA class, ask students to present a claim, their evidence, and their reasoning.

These are just a few examples, but this strategy could be used in just about any content area. It’s especially useful for processes or sequential information.


Cut It Out is an engaging strategy that requires students to collaborate and problem-solve while practicing their presentation skills.

This strategy can be used in multiple content areas that require students to summarize, interpret, review, synthesize, or reflect.

Have students record their Cut It Out videos using iMovie for an easy way to edit and share their videos.

Don’t forget to check out a student-created video to see this strategy in action.


Is iMovie a free tech tool?

iMovie is free and available on all iOS devices through the App Store.

How do I use AirDrop?

Tap AirDrop. Then, tap the profile picture of the user of the device that should receive the video.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0 License.

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