May 05


This week I had one of those rare days in the computer lab where I wasn’t in the middle of some big project with my fourth graders.  At first I thought that maybe we could make cards for Mother’s Day using Print Shop. But then I remembered a recent post by “Mrs. Smoke”on Mother’s Day Photo Gift Project Ideas and her suggestion to use Wordle to make a word pictures of adjectives describing their mother.

I’d never used Wordle with students, so I asked my plurk buddies if they had any suggestions.  Several mentioned that sometimes there might be creations with objectionable words on the main page and they said it is helpful if you go straight to the “create a Wordle” page.  I had my fourth graders type in “” into the address bar – most mananged that without difficulty.  If I were working with younger students or wanted to save a bit of time, I would create a link so they could go directly to the correct starting page.

After everyone was at the right page, I locked their computers using Apple Remote Desktop and demonstrated all the steps of how to use the site. This is what I instructed them to do:

1. Type the word Mother, Mom, Mama, or Mommy 5 times, so that it would be the primary word on the page.

2. Then type at least 10 adjectives (they must be individual words, not phrases) that described their mom. I liked the fact that misspelled words were underlined in red so I was easily able to assist them with their spellings. This activity also allowed them to practice the skills that they had learned in the keyboarding lessons that we recently finished.

3. When all the words are entered, click “go.”   It takes 15 – 20 seconds for the “wordle” to appear.


 4. Use the Randomize button to generate different designs.5. Use the Font, Layout, and Color buttons to customize the look of your design.  Lots of fun to play with this!


6. Click the Print button at the bottom of the page when done – this will print your wordle alone without any of the other items on the webpage.  (We found we had to click it 2 times before it actually sent the picture to the printer.)

The designs looked wonderful.  It took about 30 minutes for most students to do the entire assignment and few had any difficulty.  A huge success – I will use Wordle again!


Apr 06


Here are some neat interactive websites that will allow your students to create pictures that simulate the works of famous artists.  These activities would work nicely on an interactive whiteboard to demonstrate characteristics of these artists or could be done by students on a classroom or lab computer.  In most cases students can print out their creations (or they could be emailed to the teacher for printing).  In an art classroom, computers can be set up so that students can do these “virtual art projects” when their regular art projects are completed.

Mr. PicassoHead – create an abstract face with this online tool

Pointillism Practice Page
– paint with dots like Seurat

Matisse for Kids – from the Baltimore Museum of Art, click on the “Matisse for Kids” link on right under Related Links

Keith Haring Coloring Book – create colorful paintings using Haring’s familiar characters

Jackson Pollack – paint with drips and splots

Jungle – awesome tool to create a painting like Rousseau

Surreal Painter – make a surrealistic painting similar to Dali and Picasso

Still Life – create a lovely still life picture in the style of the old masters

These activities and more are linked on my Learning Links website.

Mar 29

History Remixed is an assignment where middle school students will be taking a historical event and remixing media to create an eyewitness video report of the event.  They will be combining clips from Discovery Streaming and still images with audio that they will record on GarageBand.  They also will be using a green screen video to record themselves in a scene from history.

Students: Here is a list of copyright friendly historical images that can be used in the project.  Be sure to bookmark each image before you download it so that you can site the source at the end of your video.

New York Public Library Picture Collection – many historical pictures here, older version

New York Public Library Digital Galleries – updated website

American Memory Collection 

Library of Congress (may be similar to American Memory)

Wikimedia Commons (check copyright before using)

National Archives Digital Vault

Life Images Search

Federal Resources for Educational Excellence

Library of Congress Images at Flickr

Kathy Schrock – Primary Source Listing – more helpful links here

Oct 27

We recently did a neat project where we used video clips in a Kidpix project to make a movie about ocean creatures. This is a perfect way to use Discovery Streaming video clips. Here are the steps:

1. Students picked an ocean creature and did research to learn some new facts about it. We used books in the classroom, but you also could use the internet. Students came into the computer lab with a paper that had one or two sentences about their ocean animal already prepared.

2. I had downloaded video clips in Quicktime format from Discovery Streaming and stored them in advance in a file that the students could open. I made sure that there was at least one or two clips for every animal.

3. Students came into the lab and started a new Kidpix picture. I first showed them how to import a video clip onto their page and position it at the top of their page using “IMPORT > MOVIE” from the top menu bar. Then they used the paint bucket to color the page a solid color. Finally they created a text box and typed their sentences about the animal. When they clicked the green arrow button, the movie would play on their screen. Here is a picture of what their pages looked like:


(Another great way to use this process would be to let the student select a clip to import into Kidpix. They would watch the clip, and then write a sentence or two that told about something that they learned from the clip!)

5. Bonus: The students stopped the movies when there was a good picture of each animal on the screen. We printed 2 copies of their pictures. One copy was to hang on the wall and eventually go home. The other copies we bound into a hard cover so the class would have a book. We use book covers from to create our books.


6: Double Bonus: I saved each one of the pictures as a individual Quicktime movie file using FILE > EXPORT > QUICKTIME MOVIE. I saved these files on our server. Then I used iMovie and dragged each individual file in. Now all the clips were combined as one movie. I extracted the audio off of each clip. Then I had each child come and record their text. (I think you could record the narration in Kidpix as well, but I think it is quieter to do it one at a time.) I added a little background music and then burned the entire movie as a DVD. Now the class has their own movie where they can watch everyone’s video and hear their report!

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