A couple of weeks ago I posted a link to the Virtual Valentines Project. Since my 1st graders are studying different continents and countries, I thought they would be the perfect group to match with a Virtual Valentine. We were matched with a class in Canada, and will be Skyping with them today.
I wanted the Valentines my students made to reflect a little of our San Antonio uniqueness, so I asked the students to brainstorm some special things about San Antonio that our Canadian friends might not have. This turned out to be harder than I expected.
“Games?” one student suggested.
“Toys?” another student ventured.
After I assured them that Canada is not an isolated planet in outer space without any stores or internet connections, we narrowed things down a bit.
We ended up with a fairly long list, and the students could choose one San Antonio feature to include in their Valentines. It wasn’t until yesterday, though, that I got a chance to look at them closely. I thought I’d share a few with you 🙂
Overall, I think their pictures definitely showcase some of our San Antonio flair. I hope this post makes you smile as much as I did writing it, and Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!
The Kuriositas blog recently featured, “Atomic,” a short video created by students at Columbus College of Art and Design. The students were tasked with creating animations of some of the elements on the periodic table, and this video is a compilation of some of the best. Learning about the elements and their symbols would have been vastly more entertaining when I was in high school if I had been given a similar assignment! In fact, there are a few elements in the video that I would swear I never heard of (dysprosium?), but now I will never forget them.
Joe Tedesco, the man behind SA Makerspaces for Education, posted about CoSpaces a couple of weeks ago. CoSpaces is available on the web, and as a free iOS or Android app. My students and are still investigating its features, so I may be incorrect about what we’ve discovered so far.
Using CoSpaces on a computer (desktop or laptop), you can register for a free account and then create projects. To experiment, I created one account that my students could also use (if you do this, make sure each student knows how to start a new project or collaborate with someone else on one). There are tools on the web browser version to “build” 3-dimensional scenes, somewhat Minecraft-ish. For those of us who are spatially challenged, it’s good practice for using other 3-d modeling programs like Tinkercad. You can also add your own images as well as audio files.
The scenes can be viewed on mobile devices as 3d by walking around with or moving the device to explore the scenery. If you have a VR headset, you can also experience the scenes this way. The video on this page is the best way to understand how it works. At this time, you can only create CoSpaces projects using a web browser and experience they are best experienced through mobile devices.
CoSpaces shows a great deal of potential for use by students to create – which is one of the main purposes for technology in my point of view. I have a feeling there are going to be some exciting advances made by this company as it evolves, so you should definitely check it out.
So, here’s the thing. Unscrupulous people are always trying to figure out how to get things out of art museums. But what if you are a scrupulous person? And what if you are the producer of the Kid President videos? And what if you get invited to speak at THE Guggenheim museum?
Well, then, you smuggle art in, of course.
At least that’s Brad Montague’s plan. And he needs your help. He would like children from all over the world to send him art work. The pieces should be
According to its website, ” ‘Common Ground‘ is a collaborative kinetic art installation about connecting America through creativity and problem solving.”
The result is a video that shows 5 Rube Goldberg reactions created in 5 different locations across the country. Each one “triggers” the one that follows. (I particularly liked the “Women in Stem” portion from New Hampshire.) The projects reflect major issues representative of the artists’ regions, so the video is probably best for older students who can discuss the message delivered by each one. The final segment of the video returns to its starting place, Oakland, and addresses the issue of excessive force used by police officers.
If you find the idea of doing a collaborative Rube Goldberg video intriguing, you may want to sign up your class to participate in this global one that is being produced by Brad Gustafson. As Brad says, “This will require higher-level thinking, teamwork, and a bunch of other stuff that might not immediately lead to perfect ACT scores. However, it will model risk-taking, digital-age collaboration, transformative technology use…and maybe even some asynchronous communication.”
We all have things that scare us, of course. In the book that my 5th grade gifted students are reading, The Giver, the main character is “apprehensive” about an upcoming event. To help the students connect to the text, I asked them to list some of the things that worry or scare them. Using our green screen and the Green Screen app by DoInk, I had the students superimpose themselves on the image of Edvard Munch’s, The Scream. The students then used the WordFoto app to add their specific fears to the picture. Here is one result. (You can click on it to see a larger view.)
When I looked closely at this student’s final product, I noticed the word, “division.” I was a little upset because I had told the students not to put silly things just to get a laugh. In my mind, division and multiplication would fall into that category, especially since this particular student has never had any problems achieving well in math.
“Why did you put this word when I told you not to put something silly?” I asked him as I pointed at his picture.
He looked at me solemnly. “I meant the division of people. You know, how war and other things divide us.”
Word Dream is one of those apps that I downloaded because someone mentioned it on Twitter – and then I forgot to try it. It is free for iOS, but there is also a paid Pro Version and there are in-app purchases to unlock all of the “goodies.” I actually did fine with the free version, but had a gift card balance left on iTunes and decided to splurge for everything. Now I can give my text a 3d appearance or add a fish-eye bulge to it, among other things.
I started playing with Word Dream because I read A.J. Juliani’s post about the “7 Mantras” he is displaying for the year and wanted to make some of my own. I have a Pinterest board full of favorite quotations, but sometimes I discover an inspiring piece of text that hasn’t been graphically designed by a clever person yet. Therefore, I wanted to try my hand at making a few of my own.
Word Dream allows you to choose a background from Pixabay or one of your own images. Then you can add your text using numerous different options for the layout, color, and effect. It’s not a unique idea, but I found Word Dream very easy to use with plenty of choices for design without too many to overwhelm me. If Word Dream isn’t quite what you want, here is a list of 20 Alternatives – many that I’ve tried but deleted for one reason or another.
Here are a couple of samples I made while learning the app. I’m not sure if I’m going to include them in my set of mantras, yet! The black dog, by the way, is my daughter’s puppy. (She was a bit more cooperative than my bulldog when I asked her to look adoringly at me.)