Friday, November 23, 2012

Motivating writing using Apple Mac's Keynote

I was playing around with photos with a teacher today and showing her how to do masking and Alpha masking. When you do the alpha masking you need a fairly plain background.

I used this photograph of my dog and then removed the background green of the grass by clicking on the Alpha button on the toolbar.

Then I dragged another photo of scenery (a photo I took at Cooks Beach) on top of the dog and sent the background to the back.

The next step was to click on the dog and change the Opacity so he looks ghostly.

I then went to View - Show Presenter notes and now students can write their stories about the picture.

Take a screen capture of the photo and add it to a Presentation in Google Docs. Make a file up different pictures.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tools we have used before and forgot about #1

Telescopic Text
I blogged about this back in  October 2009 and posted on my Literacy wiki a couple of years ago. Telescopic text is a great way of showing students how to expand their sentences. The original Telescopic text starts off with a sentence, click on a shaded word to see how it expands.

You can now make your own Telescopic text, and/or you can also have an account where you can save them and return to them later.
These would work well as an IWB activity where groups of children can collaborate on one piece of writing. Or if you have access to several computers, students can be independently writing their own and sharing their different stories later, which could possibly be further edited.

Yesterday I was working with a teacher and we were thinking about different ways to make a student's reading experience more fun and interesting and then to link it into his writing. The following poem was part of the story she was going to use with him from a Junior Journal (Junior Journal 36, Dancing Bees by Lynette Bradley.) and it is perfect for enlarging and adding to.

So here is a tool that you should add to your 'Teacher Digital Toolkit'.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Junior Digital Toolkit for Writing

There are so many digital tools available to students.
How can you manage them?
Which is the best tool?
How can we share them out?
How can we remember to use them?

I have talked a lot about the necessity of students having their own 'Digital Toolkit'.
  • They need to know what is available 
  • They need to know 'how' they can use this toolkit
They need to be able to make choices for their own learning! This is all part of building up self management and collaboration skills.
The diagram below shows an example of an overall 'Junior Digital Toolkit'.
There are 3 main digital tools
  • Laptop
  • iPad/iPod Touch
  • Easi Speak
Now the students need to know how they are going to use these. With the laptop I have itemised the different uses and what software application they will use with it
Writing stories - Kidspiration or Pages
Playing Games -Wiki
Make Movies - iMovie

And then I have done the same with the iPad/iPod Touch

Writing stories - Notes or Pages
Drawing - Create a draw
Making Music - Garageband

As the students progress and become more proficient, I would add more software and apps tools until they have a wide selection and choice about what they could use.

Now let's put this into practice. Below is the Writers Digital Toolkit at the beginning of the year

Students are clearly able to see what their choices are for when Drafting and Publishing.
As the year moves on,  more apps, software and online tools can be added.

There needs to be a monitoring system put in place to see what students are using. For very young children I might have a Sticker chart.

For older, more independent students I would have individual Check lists that are either kept in a Clearfile folder or as a Google Doc.
Putting management techniques such as this in place teaches students to be independent, collaborative and self managing. Students need to know what is available for them to use and that they have a choice in the way they want to learn.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Turning a Projector into Learning Centre activity with Juniors

Continuing with using PowerPoint or Keynote in a different way, I was working with a teacher in a school that has intermittent internet access, 2 computers that work sometimes, and she has a projector that she uses in a limited way.
I suggested using the Projector and her laptop as a learning centre activity area. I showed her that she could adapt some of her printed activities for visual interactive learning by creating them in PowerPoint or Keynote as the example below shows.

Students can go to the centre and use Whiteboard markers to write the letters, a buddy can check to see if they are right, another child can move the slides with the arrow key on the keyboard. And the teacher can keep an eye on what the students are doing because it is on the Whiteboard through the projector. You are now making use of technology with students in control!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Do all students need to present their work in the same way?

Do students need to all present their work in the same way?
I constantly hear 'Your task is to make a PowerPoint!'
So everybody does the same type of PowerPoint.


And yes there are lots of online options for teachers and students but there are still a lot of teachers who are not ready or not able to make the leap into online publishing. So if we are going to 'Do' PowerPoint (or Keynote) then let's give them choices within that programme.
The slideshow below is an example I made for a school when they said that the students assessment was to make a PowerPoint about what they know about Dinosaurs, this slideshow gives students different ways to publish within PowerPoint or Keynote.

So when you are setting up publishing options, use some of the different ways to publish within PowerPoint or Keynote. Give them these options
  • Pictures tell the story (a series of pictures with the odd slide summing up  the pictures so far)

  • Pictures with no text, (telling the story with pictures only and setting the slide speed to 0 or 1 so it makes an animation)

  • Visual Diorama (Insert a background picture, then add clip art on top to tell the story, another idea is to duplicate a slide then move the dinosaurs one step, then duplicate that slide and move the dinosaurs again etc. Add speech bubbles and narrative boxes)

  • Voice over slides (Photos and diagrams with voice over giving the information)

  • POV of Character (Photos, diagrams, clipart. slides with no text but a voice over that talks from the 'Point of View' of the main character)

  • Create a Quiz (make a quiz that hyperlinks slides with right and wrong slides and information that answers the questions)

  • Sing a song (record your voice singing a song that has your presentation information in it, it could be to the tune of a familiar song or create your own. Insert the song so it will play over several slides

For those teachers and students who have the equipment and the access there are many other ways to present and publish work

    Thursday, June 14, 2012

    PowerPoint motivating writing tip

    Find a photograph background and then insert into a blank PowerPoint page. In this example one of my schools are studying dinosaurs and paleontology, so I suggested taking photos of the field or playground.

    Then go to Insert - Clipart and select clipart that has white backgrounds. If you have white background appear on your graphic you will have to make it transparent by clicking on 'Remove Background' in the Format menu.

    Click on the Home button and choose speech bubbles from the Insert Shapes menu.

    To add writing lines click where it says 'Click to Add Notes' which is just below your main screen. Hold down your Shift key and minus - key on the keyboard. This will make lines. Once you have made several lines, press Ctrl A (Command A for Mac) to highlight all of the lines. Change the font size to about 36. Don't worry if you see no change yet.

    Go to File - Print
    Click on Full Page slides and change to Notes.
    Check to see if your lines are the right width.

    Students can now use this as a motivator for their drafting and editing. You could print out another copy in colour and use that as the final publishing.

    For younger students you could make a PowerPoint template with the photo background embedded in the Master page. Go to View - Master - Slide Master, insert a background photo in the usual way and delete the slide master frames that show up, click on Close or Close Master.
    Then save as a template by going to File - Save As, select PowerPoint Template under the Format dropdown menu, name it and click Save.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Student Digital Toolkit

    It is becoming more apparent as teachers and students get more familiar with the online  digital tools and devices that there needs to be some management of these. Some teachers still get tied up with the old adage that all the students in the class has to 'produce a product at the end using this tool'.
    It doesn't have to be so...I encourage teachers to have a 'Teacher Digital Toolkit'
    This is an example of a basic one
    For more teacher tools go to this website.

    Students need a Digital Toolkit as well. I am working on 2 different websites at the moment, one is called
     Publishing Ideas
    • ways to publish using online and offline tools
    • variety of ways to publish i.e cartoons and comics

    and the other is called Web 2 tools and Widgets
    • tools and widgets that will enhance your blog or wiki
    • photo presentation tools
    Set up a student toolkit so that students know what is available and what they can use. In consultation with you, you both can decide what is the best tool for their learning.
    The  following could be an example of a Student Digital Toolkit

    Saturday, February 11, 2012

    Adding a Jigsaw to wiki and blog

    A great way to start off and introduce your wiki/blog at the beginning of the year is to add a jigsaw using photos of your students or places around the school. Jigzone allows you to upload your own photos and embed jigsaws.

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    A great way to start students off with an online presence is to create an avatar and add it to your wiki or website front page at the beginning of the year, such as in these examples.

    One of the teachers I worked with today wanted to use  Build Your Wildself

    Students can create their own "Wildself'. To save it as a picture file you can either do a screen capture on a Mac or Windows using Prt Scn...or Click 'I'm done'  then click on Get a Wild Desktop. Do a right click on the next screen and select Save as...
      Create a table on your web site or wiki and insert all of the avatars. Later on in the year you might link each child's avatar to their own online page.
    Click here to see different types of avatars that your students can make.

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Five things I would want my teacher to know about me

    Shaun Wood sent me this challenge which was first started by Allanah King. It is a worthwhile challenge to do with our students because it will make them think about how they learn

    5 things I would want my teacher to know about me
    1. I like art, I am visual... if you talk at me you will see me doodling in my books
    2. I can listen to you and do other things at the same time
    3. I don't like to sit for long periods of time, I need to move and I do fidget
    4. If you are telling me something I already know then I will get bored and will look for something else to do
    5. I like open challenges, pose a problem and let me choose how to solve it
     I challenge @dbeehre, @krivett1, @llaburn, @lindalehrke, @KseniaNZ to do this challenge