Assembly is an iOS app that is particularly suited for those who like to design with shapes. This is ideal for me because I never took a drawing class in my life. In addition, my students have been working with Tinkercad (which is all about combining shapes to create) so I am kind of in that frame of mind.
I decided to try Assembly when I saw a blurb that mentioned it is good for creating logos. I am even less practiced in graphic design than I am in drawing, but I have been looking for a new “Engage Their Minds” logo, and decided to give it a try.
Assembly is fairly intuitive if you’ve used other design programs. You drag shapes onto the screen, and you can then resize, rotate, move, and change their colors. Put some shapes forward and others back, reverse the image and/or even group them if you so desire.
The free app includes 180 shapes – but I soon realized I needed more. After about 5 minutes of using the app I decided to invest in the $11.99-never-have-to-buy-another-pack-of shapes-again option because I hate wondering if I could find the perfect shape if I just purchase one more pack, and then discovering that wasn’t the right pack at all. I’m probably the company’s ideal customer, a non-artist with Delusions of Dazzling Design skills.
Here is my first attempt at designing a logo. I created all of the letters in “Engage” and “Minds” using shapes in the Assembly app. Then I imported the image to Type Drawing so I could stamp the “their” part where I wanted. My husband, who has some experience with graphic design, actually seemed slightly impressed by my first try.
I have to admit that I had a blast making the logo, even if I don’t end up using it!
Pixite, the maker of the Assembly app, has other creative app options here. The suite of apps includes a coloring one for those of you who like to administer self-therapy with adult coloring books😉
Happy New Year! I’m going to start off 2016 with a Fun Friday post about bubble wrap. Although it’s not used quite as often to cushion packages, you might have acquired some during recent gift exchanges. Here are some alternatives to adding it to the landfills.
Michael Fischler demonstrates his artistic process of creating bubble wrap art in this video. The completed portrait is of musician Beth Thornley, whose music accompanies the video. Georges Seurat would be impressed!
To create a more edible work of art, this video demonstrates the use of bubble wrap and chocolate for creating a cake decoration that is beautiful and impressive.
New to the world of bubble wrap art? You might want to start out by combining your bubble wrap with a rolling pin and paint for your first project.
One of the apps that I recommend frequently is Hopscotch. This free iOS app has been one of my all-time favorite creation tools ever since we tried it a few years ago during Hour of Code. Using block programming that is similar to Scratch, Hopscotch allows users to create works of art, games, and even presentations. (One of my 5th graders chose to use Hopscotch to present his Genius Hour information last year – much more interesting than PowerPoint!)
If you want to take your students beyond this year’s Hour of Code, you might want to try a Hopscotch tutorial, and then see how they can “remix” it to make it their own. One that is great for this time of year is the Snowflake Tutorial. Students can learn about symmetry, angles, and many other mathematical skills while they also obtain basic programming skills. To top it all off, they can create digital works of art, and every single one will be different.
Hopscotch is an app that my students often mention they use at home on their own, a great example of using technology to create rather than merely to consume.
I would advise walking through any Hopscotch tutorial you assign so you can familiarize yourself with the tools. Also, beware that earlier tutorials (before 2015) may look a bit different as the app has been updated since then.
For more ideas for using using coding in the classroom, check out my Programming for Kids Pinterest Board here.
Last year, Colossal did a story on artist Hannah Rothstein’s “Thanksgiving Special” series. Rothstein imagined the Thanksgiving plates of 10 famous artists. It would be fun to show students one or two examples, and then have them choose an artist to represent in their own Thanksgiving plate art. This activity would not only amp up creativity, but also be a lesson in art history and in seeing things from another perspective. You could also use it to teach about parody.
There are 6 lessons, about 45 minutes each, targeted for 5th-8th grades. However, there is a lot of flexibility that allows for modifications for younger and older students. The lessons include ideas for differentiation and detailed suggestions to include many levels.
Math, Engineering, and Computer Science Standards are included in the lessons. Videos links are offered for all 6 activities to either use with your class or for the teacher to watch to gain better understanding. Hopscotch not only differentiates for the students, but also for the teachers by making the instructions very clear for even those who have never used the app before.
I am excited that Hopscotch is offering such an amazing free resource for educators. This app encourages creativity and problem-solving while teaching logic and many math skills. Don’t worry if you have never programmed before. With Hopscotch, you and your students can learn together.
It’s Phun Phriday. Technically I do a post on something that is not very related to education on these days. But I was so excited to see this new resource from Zen Pencils that I had to share it with you right away!
The artist behind Zen Pencils, Gavin Than, creates amazing, inspirational posters based on quotes from men and women who have made an impact on our world. He is one of my favorite artists and I was thrilled when a book of his work was published.
Teachers can now use this free Teacher’s Guide along with Gavin’s posters. It includes discussion questions, activities, and cartooning advice.
Not every poster’s subject will be appropriate for your class, so choose the ones that work for your age group and academic area. Watch how these posters capture the imagination for your students!
It’s Phun Phriday – and tomorrow is July 4th! As we celebrate Independence Day, we should remember the rich history of our country and its diverse inhabitants. We should also remember that not everything we say makes sense to speakers new to the English language!
Illustrator Roisin Hahessy has created a delightful set of posters to help out those who might be confused when we casually say things like, “Hold your horses!” You can check out the fun series here.