Digital Skills Learning Badges

 

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 12.14.00 PMHappy back to school! If you’re like me, I have loved the #AppleTeacher movement to encourage teachers to learn more about using Apple tools in the classroom! What I love about it is that teachers can learn new skills in utilizing the most powerful technology tools for learning and teaching all at their own time! I thought, why not make this same concept available for my students? I have created digital skills badges for all of the Apple applications I use in my classroom as well as other applications that we use frequently. Additionally, I created badges for skills such as Internet Safety and Keyboarding. Here’s what you need to know to create your own Digital Skills Badges!

  1. Think about what skills are most important for your students to master. You can create skills on just about anything and you can use my template or create your own. My template is broken down into skills using a variety of applications and included are both iPad and Mac versions.
  2. I created a website where students can take the skills quiz to earn their badge once they are finished with a final project within that application or learning component. For example, our first learning module is on Internet Safety. Once students have learned about Internet Safety, they will work in teams to create a project. Once their project is finished, they will take the quiz and upload their final project. I felt that taking a quiz wasn’t enough…I wanted to see the projects attached to the skill so that I could understand the creative process students went through to finish their badge.
  3. All of the apps I have listed involve creation. To me, it’s not about how well you know the tool, but what you can do with the tool AFTER you’ve learned the skill. (Can I get an AMEN???) 😜
  4. I put all of my quizzes in Google Forms so that I can view or grade them once they are turned into me, but you could easily use something such as Quizlet, Quizizz, Go Formative, Survey Monkey, Socrative, Padlet, Flip Grid, Answer Garden, or Wizer.
  5. Once students earn their badge, then, I will add their name to two different versions of “shout outs!” First one is I have a bulletin board outside my room where I have each badge and I will add student’s names as they earn their badge (coming soon!) The second one is a Padlet where I have each badge with student names as they earn them. Adults love to earn badges, so why not give kids this same experience!

RESOURCES:

I will post more resources and examples of student work once I kick this off with students, but I just couldn’t wait to share it with all of you!

For more information on the Apple Teacher program: https://appleteacher.apple.com

Cheers!

 

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Match Up Partners with Emojis

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If your classrooms are like mine, then you know that whenever you say “pick a partner,” kids automatically start looking around the room to make eye contact with their future partner.  Often times they want to work with the same partners time after time. I was recently talking to a friend of mine who is an AMAZING 4/5 grade teacher in San Diego, Dena Glynn (@Glynn_ed), and she mentioned that she matches kids up using emojis from an Emoji Memory Game. I thought this was a great way to get kids partnered up at random. So, instead of going out to buy the game, I decided to create my own. You can download the PDF I created (emoji-matches) which includes 42 cards.

If you want to make something like this on your own, here’s how I did it!

  1. I used Keynote and changed the size of my slide to a custom size to view my slide in portrait rather than landscape. Change the size of the document to 768×1024.
  2. I added shapes for the background of the emojis and made sure my emojis were brought to the front of the shape.
  3. One of my favorite sites is copypastecharacter.com and there you will find many of your favorite emojis. I like using this site rather than emojis within the keyboard on the Mac for projects like this.screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-9-06-22-am
  4. After your cards are complete, print them out and laminate them! You could also use these cards to play a fun memory game!
  5. In addition to creating these fun memory cards, there are so many other uses for using symbols and emojis from this website! Here’s an older post, where I wrote about creating rebus puzzles using emojis! Try it out! 😀

 

 

 

 

Digital Citizenship Projects

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Each year I do a large unit on digital citizenship with grades 3-5. I introduce the topics and really have great conversations with my students about this very important theme that is so relevant to our kids. In 5th grade, we dive deeper into social media and the positive and negative effects it has on kids. For this particular project, I let students choose a topic from this list:

  • Digital Citizenship and Identity
  • Privacy and Security
  • Screen Time Management
  • Information Literacy
  • Digital Etiquette and Empathy
  • Cyberbullying Management
  • Digital Footprint
  • Self Image and Reputation
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I love this graphic by @sylviaduckworth

I give students choices to how they will present their information and allow them to be creative and expressive while addressing the topic they choose.

  • Create a PSA
  • 10 Facts About…
  • Create a commercial
  • Author a book on the topic
  • Record a puppet show
  • Create a presentation
  • Create a movie
  • Create a movie trailer

Apps Used

  • iMovie
  • Adobe Spark Video
  • Puppet Pals
  • Keynote and Quicktime
  • 30 Hands
  • Puppet EDU

The overwhelming majority of kids chose to use Adobe Spark Video to create their projects.

Sample Videos from My 5th Grade Classes

Check out Common Sense Media for a wealth of information on digital citizenship, including amazing curricular resources.

 

 

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!

Custom Folders on Your Mac

 

keynote-folders-001A friend recently shared how she found out how to change the colors of the default light blue folders on your Mac. It’s fairly easy and can make a gal like myself jump for joy at the thought of another way to organize my files. 🤓

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Steps to make colored folders!

  1. Go to this site: Colored Folders
  2. Download the folders (free download)
  3. Drag the colors out of the downloaded folder onto your desktop and rename them. Delete the unwanted files inside the folder to the trash.
  4. Add your files just as you would any other folder on your Mac.

Another fun thing you can do is search for images of folders that other users have created and are available to download for free. Example below:

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CREATE YOUR OWN! 

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I really wanted to learn how to create my own folders with textures and colors. I went to my go-to tool, Keynote. Here are the steps to create your own custom folders:

  1. Open Keynote and use the shape tool to draw with pen. You can search for an image of a folder to use as a guide to trace over. Trace over the image of the folder and then delete the folder. You can fill the folder with your own custom color or a background image that you like. A great royalty-free background is from this site: backgroundlabs.com. There are many others out there, as well.
  2. Once you have your folder the way you like it, you can take a screen shot of the folder or you can save the Keynote slide as an image.
  3. Now, you need to get rid of the white or colored background on the slide. To do this, open the image using Preview. Use the instant alpha tool in  Preview and save the image as a transparent (.PNG) picture.
  4. Create a new folder on your desktop (File>New Folder)
  5. Click on your newly created image of the folder and press Command+i or use your secondary click and click GET INFO.
  6. Press Command+A to select the entire picture and then Command+C to copy the image.
  7. Click on the new folder you just created and press Command+i and click on the small image of the folder and press Command+V. You will now see that the folder has changed to your custom created folder.
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Using Instant Alpha to delete the background image of the Keynote slide.

 

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The folder will change once you paste the copied image.

**Important tip: I would recommend creating your custom colors that DO NOT include the color of your background image. For example, if your background color of your Keynote slide is white, I would recommend not using any white in the image of your folder. When using instant alpha, it is very difficult to not take out the same color as they bleed together.

Hope you have fun creating these folders! It does spice up your organization if you like that kind of thing! Plus, it makes your MacBook look more unique than anyone else’s! 🖥

 

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!

 

 

100 Days of School with Technology

Days of School Activities with Tech

Are you looking for some fun ways to engage your students with the 100 Days of School by using Technology tools? Here are some fun ideas to get you excited about how you can use technology as a tool to create fun and engaging lessons and projects for students to interact with the number 100 (and all the numbers in between).

100 Gum Balls in Keynote I created this Keynote template that you can download here. You can use this on the Mac or iPad and have students practice inserting shapes using the circle tool. Students can format the circle by choosing a color. Next, they will practice using the copy/paste feature to re-create their circle. This is such an important skill for even the youngest of students. For a fun extension, students can animate the gum balls as the drop through the black slot! The gum ball machine is not clipart! It was created in Keynote with the “Draw with Pen” tool! Isn’t Keynote awesome!!!!

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When I am 100 Years Old Using the app, Aging Booth, students can take a photo of themselves and see what they will look like when they are 100. From there, they can save their 100 year old photo to their camera roll and then use an app such as 30 Hands,  iMovie, or Explain Everything to tell a story about what they will have accomplished when they are 100 years old. For this example below, I had students create their photo and then Air Drop it to my iPad. From there, we created one large class recording in 30 Hands where students talked about what they would have accomplished with they are 100.


Personalize a 100 dollar bill with student’s photos. Click here to create 100 dollar bills. Once students save their image, they can drag it into a word processing app, such as Pages, and write about what they would do if they were president and had a 100 bill with their photo on it.

Example:

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Typing and Formatting a Document Practice:

Type out a bulleted list of

  • 100 Animals
  • 100 Things that Make You Happy
  • 100 Favorite Things to do for Fun

Web Activities (whole group on Smart Board or individual)

Give the Dog the Bone

100 Balloon Pop

Splat Square

Ghost Blasters

Number Grid Fireworks

100 Snowballs

Before 100 and After