The second graders have been learning about oceans in class. In computer lab they made pictures using a coloring template that is found in Kidpix. They used the paint bucket to color the background of the picture and used the paint brush to add sand and coral to the ocean floor. Finally they added stickers and stamps of fish and other ocean creatures.
After students printed their pictures, I took a quick digital photo of the printout. I used to go to each computer in the lab to export a jpg of each picture, but that takes FOREVER to do. If I am careful with the settings on my camera and have good light I find I can get a fairly good shot of their printout. Then the images can be easily added into Animoto and in no time at all it is magically created into a video. This is the fastest way I know to publish student pictures to the web. You could do this with almost any picture that students make in class.
Here’s one more project that we did in our National Park Project.
I took pictures of each student against a blue background.
Then each student opened a picture of their national park on a Keynote slide. They wrote the name of their park and their message on top of the image in text boxes.
Then they dropped their image on top. Keynote has this amazing feature called “Instant Alpha.” With a few clicks of the magic wand on the picture, the blue background disappears! TADA – it looks like the student is posing in front of a scene of a national park!
I want to try this again, using some of the images in Discovery Streaming. It is such an easy way to combine images!
Here’s a little more about the National Parks Project that our 6th graders have been working on. Students had to research a National Park, then create a wiki page with content, copyright free images, and links.
National Parks Wiki
I wanted students to have some other creative options of things to do when they finished their wiki using what they had learned. One choice was to make a comic page about their National Park using Comic Life. Here are some examples:
Recently my sixth grade students have been working on a research project about our National Parks. One of their project choices was making a National Park trading card based on their research using this site:
I had a few directions written down for the students and they had no problems doing this without much assistance. After they created the card, they dragged it to their desktop. Then they doubleclicked on the image to open it full size and were able to print the card full size without all the other text on the website page. (We are on Macs, so I’m not sure how this will work on a PC, sorry.)
I also discovered if your Mac is running Leopard, that there is a print option that allows you to print 4 smaller copies on one page, so that they are in trading card size. At least this works with my printer settings – you’ll have to explore and see if you can find a similar option that works on your machines.
The students loved making these cards. It is the kind of project that could be adapted to almost any subject. You could even have the students do these at home as a homework assignment as a fun way to publish a paragraph or report!
An easy technology project to start the school year (either in the classroom or the computer lab) is to make nametags using Kidpix or a similar drawing program. It is a simple and useful project that reviews several basic skills such as drawing and text formating. Steps for the project are:1. Draw a box frame that fills half of the screen.2. Use the paint bucket tool to fill the inside of the frame.3. Create a text box. Make the font size large (48 or 72) and center it. Type first and last name.4. Use stamps, stickers, or other clip art to decorate the nametag.I usually make a template for the younger students that has the frame drawn and the words FIRST and LAST already on the nametag. Then all they have to do is delete the words and type their own name. It saves time and confusion, especially since new students may not be familiar with the software you are using. Older students are capable of doing all the steps on their own.I also add the student’s computer number and class to the bottom of the nametag and then laminate the nametag. Students hang the nametags on small plastic hooks on the top of the computers. The nametags not only help me learn student names, but I also use them when students want to come in at recess to finish a project. They simply hand me the nametag as they leave class and I have all the information I need to schedule them to come in.The students look forward to designing a new nametag each year that reflects their interests and personality!