This project collides literacy and math in a way that allows students to express themselves creatively. When you have combinations like that, a lesson is sure to be a success.
This project takes students down a powerful path in understanding a program such as Keynote (traditionally only thought of for presentations). Here are some of the skills they will learn in this fun project:
- Inserting text to create name (change font, size, color, and alignment)
- Learn to organize and space items appropriate for proportion of slide size
- Align text and shapes (spacing and sizing are important for this!)
- Search through the shapes library to find shapes that begin with the letters of their first name (phonics in action)
- Add up how many shapes are in each letter column
- Create an equation based on the number of shapes in each column
- Change the background color of a slide
- Export each slide as an image (Mac) or take a screen shot of slide in full screen (iPad)
Ways to share student creations:
- Have each student upload their image to a Padlet wall.
- Each student uses Airdrop to drop their image to one iPad and that one iPad can combine all to create an iMovie or Clips video with all of the class images.
- Each student can create a checkthis.com site where they upload their image and write about what each one of the shapes represents. When students are finished, they can publish their site and share their URL with their friends and families!
Each child’s creation will be different and students will interpret the shapes in different ways. It’s important to note that some shapes have multiple meanings and can start with various lettters. For example, in the creative piece below, Austin uses a fork for the word utencil under the letter U.
My name is April and I am a Keynote junkie. There, I said it. I feel better already. 😜
Anyone who knows my work, knows that I love to use Keynote to do just about anything creative. I love finding workarounds and new ways to use an old favorite tool. When Apple updated Keynote this summer, I was instantly engaged with all of the new shapes and all the things you could do with them. You can easily break apart the complex shapes and come up with your own creations. Before the addition of all these new shapes, I would draw my own shapes with the pen tool, so this is definitely a time saver and a great way to add creativity to projects.
This particular project focuses in on vocabulary, letter sounds, phonics, shape recognition, and organization. Students will open the Keynote template and insert shapes inside each of the block letters. What I noticed when I had students complete this assignment was the time they took to go through each shape and say the shape’s name out loud and determine if the shape started with that letter (even older kids did this). It’s also important to note that some shapes have multiple meanings, for example, the party hat could be viewed as hat, party, or birthday. Once they have filled their shape, then I told them the trick to see how many shapes they may have missed. This is always a great “gotcha.” If you click on the search bar in the shape tool, just type in the letter and you will see all the shapes that begin with that letter or are associated with that letter. For this project, I gave students one to two letters to work on, I do not have them create all letters of the alphabet. You will see the template I’ve created down below.
I also really love it when important learning and technology come together. This project takes students down a powerful path in using Keynote to change slide background colors, insert shapes, change a shape’s color, size, and rotation as well as exporting slides as images. I love a good work flow and this project turned out to be really fun.
This project is suited for elementary aged students and would be particularly helpful for our ELL students. However, think about ways to stretch this type of project to suit the needs of older students in language arts classes or to accompany literature unit when studying the main character’s traits. I could see this same type of idea used for science classes when studying the periodic table of elements. I challenge you to think about how you could create your own Keynote slides to use in conjunction with shapes, words, letters, or other elements.
This project can range from complex to simple depending on grade level, user experience, and time. Here’s some ideas from simple to complex:
- Using the template provided, create an alphabet book in Keynote and fill each outlined letter with shapes that begin with that letter. To take this further, if you are using Keynote for Mac, students can record narration on their slides.
- Using the template provided, create an alphabet book in Keynote. Use animations to bring their letters and shapes to life. Export this as a movie.
- Using the template, each student in the class creates one slide with one letter using their iPad. Once all students have completed their slides, they can take a screen shot of their picture (only once they press play in Keynote) crop the black out of the picture and use the picture to create one big class book in Book Creator or iBooks Author. To do this, I’d select one iPad as the master iPad and have students Airdrop their photo to the one iPad to create one book. Additionally, if photos are on one iPad, you can select all photos and tap share and send them to iBooks. This is a great option for those using iPad and don’t have Book Creator.
- Finally, for this project example I share below, students used the template. Each student had one or two letters to complete. Once they were finished, they exported their slide as an image (Mac). They used Airdrop to send it to one iPad in the classroom. Once all slides were collected, we opened Clips and each student added and narrated on their slide. Then, this becomes a whole class published project.
If you create your own slides, here are some tips and some workarounds I went through when creating this project:
I searched for fonts that were outlined. I downloaded the font to my computer. I created all of the slides and then using Airdrop, I sent the files to my student’s computers. What I didn’t initially think of was that they would be missing the font. So, my workaround was to create the slides and export the slides as images. I created a new Keynote presentation and imported my newly created images on each slide. I used Instant Alpha to create transparent letters. Then, I saved those files and used Airdrop to resend to my students. You will be able to download the Keynote file with no workaround! YAY!
Here’s an example from one of my classes (4th grade): https://vimeo.com/239898222
Download the Keynote file HERE
Hope you have as much fun as I did with this little project! Cheers! 😀
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:
Here is a video we made to announce the winners of our first film festival:
Here are the top three films:
- 1st Place: A Week at Performing Arts vimeo.com/207360447
- 2nd Place: New Mexico True vimeo.com/206602655
- 3rd Place: Get the Crown to Have the Honey vimeo.com/206465621
Here is a list of all of the films!
- The Greek Planets: vimeo.com/206130265
- Magicono: vimeo.com/206458200
- Science of Toys: vimeo.com/206458152
- Experiments: vimeo.com/206467695
Thank you to all who participated!! We look forward to next year’s Film Festival!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
- Non-derivative works
- Share alike
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.
Here’s some samples from some of my second grade students:
Another web tool option: http://makepixelart.com/free/
A fun way to pixelate a photo of yourself is here and the effect is called focal pixelate.
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.
Here’s a sample using Numbers from a third grader in one of my classes:
I’d love to see what you and your students create! Have fun!