Category Archives: K-12

Creative Snowflakes

This post, from The Art of Education blog, gives some great suggestions for a simple art challenge for the students who might be so inclined.  I would extend the topic even further by having the students brainstorm other possible ideas for illustrating an entire page:  ladybugs, flowers, holiday candy, cars, etc…

Music in the Classroom

photo credit to kvanhorn on Flickr

This great post on Byrdseed Gifted, a fabulous resource for higher level thinking ideas, inspired me to come up with more ways to get music into my own classroom.  To extend one of Ian’s ideas even further, I would like to use music to communicate some of my expectations.  Students seem to forget, sometimes, what they should do when they finish their work.  What if the background music answered this question?  If I am playing Bach, for example, could this be the signal that they are supposed to check over their work, and then read a book?  Or, could Beethoven mean that they can find another partner who is finished and do a center activity?  Of course, this would mean the students would also have to be able to identify the pieces of music – an added bonus!  Now that our school district subscribes to Soundzabound, I should have plenty of resources for creating a more harmonic classroom environment.

QR Codes and Art

I like patterns.  This week, I started by sharing some QR Code Countdown Calendars.  Yesterday, I chose to share a link to Countdown Calendars.  So, today, I will focus once again on QR Codes.

I found an article on the Langwitches blog that gave a wonderful idea for using QR codes with art.  You should read the article here, because it gives great details.  To summarize, it explains a project in which the students created magnificent artwork.  They then made individual recordings about their artwork.  These recordings were uploaded to the web, and QR codes were generated for each link.  The QR codes were then adhered to the artwork.  Therefore, anyone who passes the artwork that is being displayed can use a “smart” device to scan the code, allowing them to listen to the student’s narrative about the art as the surveyor looks upon the masterpiece.

This generated so many extension ideas for me when I read it that I could not even begin to list them.  Think about the power of attaching another media to a bulletin board display of any type of work.  It could be an audio narrative or music.  It could even be a video!  Imagine the electronic portfolios your students could create that would co-exist in the both the “real” and “virtual” worlds!  I can’t wait to try it myself!

Word Cloud Alphabet Book

I found this example on KB Connected.  You can see more examples and find the link to Mr. Zetterberg’s site on her blog post.  This idea could easily be modified for higher grades or more advanced students by using more challenging words or asking them to create their own books.

Talking Tom and Ben News for iPad

You are probably familiar with the “Talking” apps.  There are a variety that are available for free, and work on iPhone, iTouch, and iPad.  This particular one is only compatible with the iPad at the moment, and is free (though there is an offer for an in-app purchase).  My Multimedia club students had fun playing around with the app to deliver some Thanksgiving Jokes on our school news, which is a video broadcast.  They recorded the jokes, then sent them to the computer, where, once the MOV file was converted to WMV (with a little help from Zamzar), we were able to add music and subtitles.  If you are not crazy about all of those complicated steps, don’t worry.  You can just record and e-mail it.  We have not had a chance to use one of the coolest features of this app, which allows you to insert a video from your iPad on which Tom and Ben can comment.  This offers a lot of learning opportunities in which students can explain some of their own homemade videos.  (Example:  Imagine, “This just in – Allison figured out how to solve 13 times 14!”)

Here is a sample of our jokes from our video club:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Geography Awareness Week

Next week, November 13-19, is Geography Awareness Week.  I think we can all agree that we could stand to brush up on our geography skills.  This site, produced by National Geographic, has some great activities for doing that.  You can print out a booklet of “missions”, or go to the online version.  The wording in the booklet is fun, and the missions are very creative.  For example, one mission is titled, “Alien Invasion”, in which the student is tasked to “Photograph evidence of where a non-native plant or animal has invaded a local ecosystem. Produce a ‘spotter’s guide’ to these invasive species.”  Many of the missions would make great activities any time of the year, so don’t feel restricted to squeezing all of your geography education into one week!

APPitic

The website describes its purpose best:  APPitic is an directory of apps for education by Apple Distinguished Educators (ADEs) to help you transform teaching and learning. These apps have been tested in a variety of different grade levels, instructional strategies and classroom settings.”

On this site, you can browse for apps by: Preschool, Themes, Multiple Intelligences, Bloom’s Taxonomy, and Tools.

Each reviewed app of the over 1,300 gives a thorough description, and many have personal comments from the Apple Distinguished Educators who have used them in their own classroom settings.

APPitic is a good resource for teachers, especially when used along with some of the other app review sites mentioned in my Educational App Reviews post.