Creating a Student Film Festival

NS Swat film festival

This year, I really wanted my SWAT Team students (Students Working to Advance Technology) to help create an event to reach out to other students. We decided on creating a film festival to promote video creation. At first our goals were quite high and I knew that our first year we needed to start small and build on what we learn in year one. So, that’s just what we did. We decided to create a completely online film festival and we opened the application process to students in grades K-5 in our local school district. We marketed our event, gathered sponsors to award the winners with great prizes (a wonderful incentive to get student participation), and we advertised through our school district and various social media outlets. The films were due on March 3. We received 7 submissions and although I was initially disappointed by the lack of participation, I realized that this year was completely focused around the learning process in order to make next year’s event even better. As I look back, I now understand how this event taught my SWAT Team students so much more than I initally thought! They learned how to create and market an event, how to reach out to our school district, how to create a site where students can upload their videos, and how to gain sponsors. Once the submissions came in,  my students learned the true art of critiquing the videos which were submitted. We talked about various film elements to look and listen for as they watched the videos. We had great discussions after we viewed the videos about what was good about each and what could be improved. We talked about using various filming techniques and camera shots. We talked about how using apps such as Puppet Pals and Drawing Pad within iMovie could enhance films that were created using other methods. I was proud at how my students viewed the videos and how mindful they were to celebrate the risk each of these students took to put their work out there for the world to see. We celebrate the creation of each of these films!

Here’s the video we made to promote the film festival:

North Star SWAT TEAM Film Festival 2017 from April Requard on Vimeo.

Here is a video we made to announce the winners of our first film festival:

2017 Film Festival Results by the North Star SWAT Team from April Requard on Vimeo.

Here are the top three films:

Here is a list of all of the films!

Thank you to all who participated!! We look forward to next year’s Film Festival!

Become an Apple Teacher

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In September, Apple Education announced its Apple Teacher Program, a program aimed at helping educators unlock the magic and potential of Mac, iPad, and apps in the classroom. Teachers sign up and learn new skills, test their knowledge, and earn badges to be ultimately recognized by Apple as an official “Apple Teacher.”

The best part about this program is that it is self-paced and teachers can participate while in their pajamas at home! Teachers can decide if they want to focus their learning for the Mac or the iPad and choose the path that works best for them. Once teachers complete a module, they will be given a quiz. No pressure if you don’t get the questions correct, as you can test again. The purpose of the test is so that educators can truly get the most out of these modules and the tests force you to master the concepts rather than skimming through.

THE BADGES

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Once you earn a badge in each one of the categories and learn not only to use the app to get the best results, but you also learn how to infuse this into the classroom as a powerful teaching tool. Each module is full of ideas that relate to classroom content and help bring its use to life in meaningful ways teachers will appreciate. Click here to get started.

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You will use your Apple ID to get started.

I am a huge supporter of this program.  Apple’s commitment to education is evident and I appreciate the way Apple continues to give teachers quality tools to enhance learning and teaching. My favorite tools as a creative professional will always Keynote and iMovie. I couldn’t live without those two apps and neither could my students. If you choose to accept the challenge of becoming an Apple Teacher, I promise you that you will learn something to take back to your classroom TOMORROW as a result and perhaps you will have a new favorite tool.

TEACHER RECOGNITION

Since I am the instructional technology teacher and leader of the technology program, I am encouraging teachers at my school to join the program and earn their badges. I put together some fun rewards to recognize the commitment and time teachers put aside to further their learning in this area. We are an Apple school and we have access to all of these applications and tools, so I can’t think of a better way for teachers to learn on their own time, and I do think they should be recognized for their commitment!

  • Upon completion of the Apple Teacher program, teachers will earn a spot on the “Wall of Fame” located in the hallway of our school.
  • Teachers will also receive a certificate showcasing their skills at this will be hung outside their classroom.
  • Teachers will receive a “shout out” on our school Facebook page to congratulate them on their extended professional learning.
  • Teachers will receive the official logo from Apple to use in their professional email signature.
  • Most importantly, teachers will gain knowledge in unlocking the  potential with these great productivity and creative apps that are already on their iPad and Mac. These are the native apps and most people don’t realize the potential in these applications and how they can be used as tremendous tools in the classroom.
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The “Wall of Fame” located in the hallway of our school.

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Wall of Fame photo and school Facebook page recognition.

OTHER WAYS TO OFFER INCENTIVES

I have seen other schools and teachers provide a variety of incentives for teachers to earn their badges and expand their professional learning. Here’s two examples:

Do you have another idea? Please share it! #AppleTeacher

 
Here’s the link for further information: http://www.apple.com/education/teachers/
 
Here’s the link to get started: https://appleteacher.apple.com/auth/#/signin/
Good luck and happy learning!

Copyright Free Images for Projects

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I recently helped a teacher who was creating projects with her students using Pic Collage. She was having her students search for pictures in Google Images and had not even thought about copyright laws to model good digital citizenship for her students. Let’s be real…it happens. However, when we know better, we do better! I put together a SMORE, which has great resources for students when searching for images to use in movies, collages, books, etc.

Feel free to distribute this link to other educators who might need a gentle reminder about reinforcing copyright laws. Additionally, it’s important to teach students the domain specific terms when searching for images.

  • Attribution
  • Non-derivative works
  • Share alike
  • Non-commercial

Happy searching!

 

 

 

Teaching Students to Create Their Own Pixel Art!

CreatePixel Art

Pixel art is all the rage thanks to old school video games and today’s gaming such as Minecraft. I thought a great way to reach my students is to have them create their own pixel art. It’s quite an intricate process and takes time and determination to complete. In this post, I’ll share the resources I used to teach my students about pixel art and how to create their own though a variety of ways! Be sure to scroll down to the bottom as I share three very important pieces to this overall lesson: History of pixel art, creating pixel art using a web tool, and creating pixel art from scratch using a spreadsheet called Numbers.

History of Pixel Art:

This was a great paragraph from Mary Winkler on an article she wrote explaining pixel art. “Considering that everything you are viewing on your monitor, tablet, or phone is comprised of many, many pixels, the often asked question is “how is this not pixel art?” It’s art, it’s made of pixels, so surely all digital art is pixel art. While technically correct, when talking about “pixel art”, we’re focused on a specific style of artwork most often employed within the gaming industry. Pixel art is a raster-based digital work that is created on a pixel-by-pixel level. Typically very small, the art form is similar to mosaics or cross-stitch in that it focuses on small pieces placed individually to create a larger piece of art.” Click here to view the full article.

Create Your Own Pixel Art Online:

I searched for the most student-friendly pixel art creator, and this is the one that I loved. I thought it had the most user-friendly platform and easy enough for young students to learn to create pixel art. I gave my students three prompts:

1. Recreate an image of a character, person, or thing.

2. Spell your name in pixel art.

3. Create your own pixel art.

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Here’s some samples from some of my second grade students:

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Another web tool option: http://makepixelart.com/free/

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A fun way to pixelate a photo of yourself is here and the effect is called focal pixelate.

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Create your own pixel art using Numbers or Excel:

If students can use a generator to create their art, why not teach them how to create their own graphs and plot their colors using a spreadsheet like Numbers or Excel? For this project, I used Numbers. This was a great extension for the younger students and an even better starter for the older students. It really introduces or reinforces commands, such as copy/paste and selecting more than one object to modify. Additionally, it takes the user through the process of adding and deleting cells as well as creating the cells in the shape of a square rather than a rectangle. I also thought that it took quite a bit of time for students to conceptualize what they wanted to create and make sure that they started in the center and had matching blocks on each side to create symmetry. There are many ways this could weave into an art lesson, a math lesson, or a creative lesson using technology.

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Here’s a sample using Numbers from a third grader in one of my classes:

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I’d love to see what you and your students create! Have fun!

Create a Magazine Cover in Keynote

Keynote to CreateMagazine Covers

As most of you know, Keynote is my go-to tool for creating just about anything. One of the things I love to have my students create is magazine covers. They can use these covers to highlight a topic or subject they recently studied, they could feature an image of a person whom they studied, or they could create a cover of themselves showcasing something they’ve recently participated in.  Regardless of the topic they choose, creating a magazine cover will introduce students into so many tools in Keynote and teach them some skills in  graphic design. There are many online magazine generators that will allow for the creation of magazine covers, but they have all of the magazines, some of which are totally inappropriate for school. Additionally, you can easily create a template for your students so that the formatting is already complete and all they have to do is plug in their information.

Here’s the steps in creating your own cover in Keynote!

Keynote opens in landscape mode, so the first step is changing the orientation of the slide. Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 9.29.01 AM

 

 

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Reverse the numbers so that your slide is 768 x 1024

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 9.29.46 AMThis is how your new slide should look

Now, you are ready to begin adding elements to your cover. Here’s a cheat sheet that I created, which includes elements and tips for formatting text and adding shapes. Click Magazine Cover Elements to download the PDF.

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This project will take users down a path in really getting to know the format tool in Keynote as they will work to change the color of shapes, use the arrange tool to send objects to the front or the back, format text, and also draw their own unique shapes to be used as placeholders for photos. This all adds interesting elements to the design. Once users add a shape as a placeholder, they simply drag in their desired photo and drop it on the shape. Then, the user can adjust the size of the photo so that it fits perfectly in the shape by using the masking tool.

Here is a TIME magazine cover created by one of my students.

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The details added in this example:

This student used a large square with no fill and added a very thick border (red) and did the same thing for the smaller black border. He searched for a TIME magazine .png image to use as the title because we were not having any luck locating the Time Magazine font. He also added a shape for the main title to stand out. Additionally, he included a barcode that he created. You can create your own unique barcode at this bar code generator.

If you don’t have Keynote, you can create some very cool magazine covers here.

It is very fun to see what students create and how this allows them to report on something they’ve learned in a relevant and fun way!

 

 

Guess Who? A Getting to Know You Project Using Tech Tools

Guess Who?

Here’s a super fun project that allows students to creatively use technology as a tool to get to know their classmates. In this project, I will show you two of my favorite things…photo editing and CheckThis. I’ve blogged about CheckThis in the past (click here). It’s a  free web application where students can create online posters with so many cool tools…a great way to share learning, create quizzes for classmates, and create quick posters on learning concepts. Best of all, it’s easy and students do not need an account to create! Here’s how it’s done:

Using PhotoBooth on a MacBook, iMac, or iPad, have students take a picture of themselves with the built-in camera.

Click here and click on EDIT. You don’t need an account for this project (this is why I love this site).

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Click on effects and choose the Focal Pixelate option. This will allow the user to pixelate their photo in order to disguise who the person is.

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Another option is using the Skitch app on the iPad to pixelate the photo. Once your photo is Pixelated, then save it to the Camera Roll (iOS) or take a screen shot (OS X) (Command, Shift, 4).

Open up the CheckThis web app. Click on Create New Post and then click Create a Post Online.

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Now, students can title their post. They can delete unwanted elements by clicking on the trash icon. Additionally, students can re-order elements by clicking the gear. To add additional elements, students can click the + sign. For this particular project, I had the students add a title, pixelated photo, 5 descriptive sentences detailing something about themselves (nothing personal), and then poll the audience to see if they can figure out who the person is.

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Once finished, students can personality to their post by changing the colors and fonts.

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Additionally, you can add a custom background and fine-tune who can see the link. I always have the students hide the link so that it’s only visible if you have the links. Then, click publish…no edit.

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You will now have your own URL to share. I usually collect all the URLs via Google Docs and share them with the students the next class period so that they can visit each other’s sites and vote on who is who in their class. Finally, I have students create a QR code as a nice way to showcase this project when they return home from school and show their families.

Here’s an example of my finished poster! Click here to see the live link with the polling feature active. Have fun creating these with your class! The possibilities are truly endless!

Guess Who Project by April Requard

Guess Who Project by April Requard

Happy creating!

April

iTunes U Course: Array City in Keynote

I am excited to share my new iTunes U course called Array City in Keynote!

Keynote is my favorite tool for both iPad and Mac. I just love figuring out new ways to use it and I get inspired by seeing something on paper and thinking about how I can bring it to life with Keynote. So, I decided to create a course with one of those ideas and I hope you will think it’s as fun as I do. I saw a lesson on Pinterest that had students making arrays with buildings, but they were using construction paper and glue. I thought it would be cool to take that idea and use the shape tool in Keynote, thus, Array City for Keynote was born!

Using Keynote (iOS), students have the ability to connect the real world to math by constructing large city buildings with the shape tool in Keynote. This is a fun and engaging way to demonstrate knowledge of multiplication & arrays and allows students to be creative while using technology. So much more than just math standards are addressed with this lesson! I hope you’ll subscribe to my course and check it out! The course is for teachers to replicate this idea or lesson with their students. All you need is an iPad with iTunes U, then click on this link to download the course! Thanks in advance for giving it some love! 🙂

https://itunes.apple.com/us/course/array-city-in-keynote/id1024001059

iTunes U Course: Array City

iTunes U Course: Array City