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 lintorpublishing.com 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!

Oct 04


One of the best way to use those clips from Discovery Streaming is to put them on iPods for students to watch. Here are some of our 4th graders watching segments on plants. The teacher had found about a dozen short clips which I loaded on the ipods using these directions from Hall Davidson. She simply asked the students to write down 3 new things that they learned as they watched. Such an easy assignment, and what kid wouldn’t want to use an iPod to do their work? They thought they were pretty cool!

We are so thankful to Best Buy for the grant that allowed us to purchase our iPods!


Sep 27

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.

Sep 27

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!img_0026.jpg

Sep 24

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:

National Park Comics

National Park Comics

Sep 21

deck3936797.jpgdeck23019051.jpg 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!

Sep 14

Kidpix Nametag

 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!

Aug 28

Back to school means spending time going over a few rules and policy for our computer lab. Yes, it’s important to do when students are going to be using expensive equipment and the internet. But it also can be boring. To make the process more interesting, I developed age appropriate games using Turning Point clickers to review the lab rules. The students are having a blast clicking their way through the rules. For the younger kids, I made an activity using Kidspiration with 2 big circles saying DO and DON’T.  There are clip art pictures representing the rules that we are reviewing. Yes, some of the pictures are animated which I know drives design people crazy, but the kids love it.  As we talk about each rule, students will come to the Smartboard and drag each picture to the correct circle.  Here’s a screen shot of the activity:


Bad Behavior has blocked 21 access attempts in the last 7 days.