Makey Makey Book Tasting

So I’m not saying that I decided to follow Barb Seaton (@barb_seaton) because she has a bulldog in her profile picture – but it is definitely evidence that we are kindred spirits.

Since I know there are many librarians who follow this blog, I wanted to share Barb’s recent tweet about a Makey Makey Book Tasting project that she did.

The link to Barb’s Instructables post gives great directions on how you can use Scratch, pressure switches, and a Makey Makey to create an interactive display of book choices for students.

There are many potential students-centered uses for this idea, such as using student-created book blurbs or designing containers for the pressure switches and wires.  Scratch has made it extremely easy in the last couple of years to program for use with Makey Makey, and Barb has a link to a video to help you out in her Instructables post.

Here are some of my other posts on Makey Makey in case you are not familiar with this tool.  And here is a list of my posts on using Scratch and Scratch Jr.  Also, if you don’t follow her already, @gravescolleen is the Queen of Makey Makey projects.  She wrote 20 Makey Makey Projects for the Evil Genius, and works for Makey Makey creating content.

 

Class Hook

In yesterday’s post about a website that archives short video animations for kids I mentioned that I would be writing about another source for videos to use in the classroom.  The site is called, “Class Hook,” and I have mentioned it before in a post about using video clips.  That post gave information about some tools that you can use to make your own clips if you are trying to use parts of longer films.  But Class Hook actually provides clips for you.

I have worked in two different school districts, and one of them blocked Class Hook, so definitely try it out on campus before you choose to rely on it for a lesson.  Even if it doesn’t work at school, you can still use it at home to find clips relevant to your content.  Most of the clips come from videos already accessible on YouTube, which can be a work-around (if YouTube isn’t also blocked!).  Class Hook’s tools will allow you to quickly narrow down the unlimited content that you would find in a Google search to a few suggestions.

Class Hook has a tiered pricing plan, but I can only tell you about my experience with the free version, which was perfectly adequate for my needs.  On this plan, you can browse all of the clips, filter by grade strands, clip length, and by series.  You can also choose a subject or search for a topic and create playlists.

An example of how I used Class Hook in class was when I was searching for a clip for my Engineering class.  I knew there was something in Apollo 13 that I had once thought would be perfect, but I couldn’t remember the exact part of the movie.  A quick search on Class Hook revealed, “A Square Peg in a Round Hole,” which was exactly what I was looking for.

For ideas on possible uses for Class Hook, take a look a this page.  I doubt you will need it, though, as I’m sure you will see many potential benefits of this tool once you try it.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Kids Love Short Films

Although it looks like this site has not been updated in awhile (since 2016?), “Kids Love Short Films” has an archive of animated shorts that are considered appropriate for a young audience.  I say, “considered appropriate” because I always advise that you preview any videos before showing them to a class, knowing that “appropriate” is a subjective word.

Short videos like the one above often don’t have any dialogue, so they are good for students to summarize.  You can also discuss theme with your students or, depending on your curriculum, the design elements used in the film.  Some may be inspiring, like the ones that I collect on this Pinterest Board, while others may be directly related to the content you are teaching.

Another place that I have mentioned where you can find many videos for school is The Kid Should See This.  Tomorrow I will talk about an additional favorite video resource!

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Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Puzzlesnacks

A few years ago, I wrote a post about a site called, “Puzzle Your Kids.”  Hosted by the author of the Puzzling World of Winston Breen series, Eric Berlin (@puzzlereric), “Puzzle Your Kids” provided a free puzzle each week, as well as a $5 monthly subscription for more puzzles.  It looks like there have been a few changes, and the site has a new name and new home, along with a new price.  It is now called, “Puzzlesnacks.”  You can still get a subscription, but it is at the bargain price of $3 per month.  Weekly puzzles continue to be free downloads, and there are other puzzle packs you can purchase in the online shop.  This page describes the approximate independence level of puzzle solvers, from the age of 8 and up.  I highly recommend adults working on these with children, as that type of modeling from my own parents is how I grew up to love logic and problem solving as well as develop a certain amount of perseverance.  In fact, my dad and I still semi-compete in solving a weekly mega-Sudoku puzzle that keeps my skills sharpened and my ego humble.

And no, I’m not exactly sure what language the crossword puzzle in the image below is (Greek, maybe?), but I thank the person on Pixabay who shared it.

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Image by Thanasis Papazacharias from Pixabay

The Magic of Chess

“Old people shouldn’t be forced to learn chess, but if they want to learn chess surely they can!  They’re allowed to,” a young girl assures the interviewer in The Magic of Chess.

“Even though they could be doing something else – like playing Legos,” the young boy next to her adds.

This adorable short film featured on Vimeo will inspire any young student (and maybe some old people) to try the game of chess.  The filmmaker, Jenny Schweitzer Bell, captured the many positive aspects of playing chess by interviewing boys and girls at the 2019 Elementary Chess Championship.  The children tout the problem solving skills they have learned, and growth mindset is a constant theme.  Their passion for the game is truly inspiring!

I am adding this delightful video to my Inspirational Videos Pinterest Board.

The Magic of Chess from Jenny Schweitzer Bell on Vimeo.

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Image by Ally Laws from Pixabay

3d Printed Lithophanes

I asked a couple of people on Twitter if I could share their projects today.  I have been fascinated watching them post pictures of their 3d printed lithophanes.  In the past, lithophanes were traditionally etched in thin, translucent porcelain that revealed the artwork when backlit.  3d printing technology, however, allows for lithophanes to be created using filament with very similar results.

Julia Dweck (@GiftedTawk) has been working on 3d printing lithophanes with her students to showcase their individuality.  As you can see in the first picture below, the lithophanes are not truly visible without light.  The second photo displays her amazing student photos once the lamp has been turned on.  Follow Julia if you aren’t already – she is always doing incredibly creative projects!

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3d Printed Lithophanes courtesy of @GiftedTawk
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3d Printed Lithophanes courtesy of @GiftedTawk

Rob Morrill (@morill_rob) has also been working with lithophanes.  His designs are in honor of Black History Month.  You can see his Rosa Parks example below.  I also suggest you take a look at his Nina Simone and Shirley Chisholm lithophanes available on Thingiverse.

Rob has provided step-by-step instructions for creating lithophanes with Tinkercad here.

Most of the lithophane DYI articles, including Rob’s,  recommend using this free online lithophane generator to make your photos into an .stl file.  Once you have this file, you can use any slicing program, such as Cura, to prepare the file for 3d printing.  This Sparkfun article has basic instructions.  For more complex “tweaks” that you may want to make in your preferred slicing program, such as setting the layer height and infill, this Instructable may help you out.  Most of the sources I looked at recommend using white PLA filament.  Other colors may work, but the translucency will not be as consistent.

Let me know if you’ve done a lithophane project!  I’d love to see the many applications of these unique form of art.

 

SlidesMania

SlidesMania caught my eye the other day on Twitter when this cute Harry Potter template was shared:

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Harry Potter SlidesMania Template

I typically go to Slides Carnival or Canva when I am looking for a new presentation theme for Google Slides, but I’m excited to find another resource.

Paula, the woman behind the SlidesMania site, likes to design slide templates as a hobby.  Fortunately, she is kind enough to share her projects online.  Just like the Slides Carnival presentations, the ones on SlidesMania can also be downloaded for Google Slides or Powerpoint.

The next time you need a great theme for a slide show, you should definitely check out SlidesMania!

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