…so much happening. Lots to do. A constant emery go round of events, or so it seems. Anyway, I thought it might be time to remind you of a few art based, ICT ideas that I’ve highlighted previously. You might be creating firework images using a suitable software package, or looking for ideas based around Children in Need, but I’m going to focus on poppy based ideas you could link to November 11th. So here we go…
You might like to create some mosaic style images: poppies (any sort of flower really) are a particularly good subject for this – you just need to find the right images. Andrea mosaic would be my tool of choice and there’s a bit more information about that here (including a poppy themed example). You could also try your hand at one of the art activities here or maybe create a stained glass or texture style image: all fabulous ideas in their own way. But what I really thought you might like was another quick clip art tutorial showing how to make simple poppy images using Autoshapes. So that’s what you’re getting…
There’s been a lot of chat on Twitter recently about Digital Leaders: pupils who can carry out a range of simple ICT based ‘jobs’ within school settings. It is an absolutely fabulous idea and there’s a great blog post about it, by Ian Addison, here if you want to find out more. Lots of schools have mini task forces for all sorts of little jobs ( School Council, recycling group, e-safety group – need I go on?) so why not have a group of pupils doing little tech based things that will save the a bit of precious teacher time.
Thing is, lots of school groups end up having little badges to wear out and about in the school corridors and I thought it might be nice to have something suitable and adaptable for the Digital Leaders. With that in mind I’ve created some editable badge templates, in Word and Publisher format that some of you might find useful. I’ve placed clip art images of children on them at the moment but these can easily be replaced by photos or other avatars. The borders could be changed to reflect school colours and I’ve used the much maligned Comic Sans font as I thought it was one most schools would have readily installed. Why don’t you download them and start developing a Digital Leaders culture in your school – you know it makes sense.
Here’s another quick clip art tutorial – this one inspired by someone asking if I knew where they could find vector style, quality background illustrations that were not watermarked or prohibitively expensive. This is a very basic tutorial but more are to follow.
Today I thought I’d share an idea I use to make tessellated images using Autoshapes. This isn’t a new idea but something that I though some of you might be able to use in class. Once you get the hang of it you’ll find lots of different ways to combine shapes and create patterns. I’m using Publisher in the video clip but you could just as easily use PowerPoint or any other program that allows you to create shapes and combine them.
I’m really feeling on top of the world today! I returned home from work to find the blog has made the shortlist in the Education Blog Awards! I am absolutely flabbergasted and would like to send out a heartfelt thanks to everyone who voted – you’ve made my day. I’m also feeling rather pleased about a couple of things I’m organising during July, and I’m hoping you will be too.
Reflect and Share is about giving pupils a chance to speak about the lessons and resources they have loved using within there classrooms. The children involved will be sharing their thoughts on learning with teachers in an effort to let the teachers know what they children think really works well. Although the final date is not set this is an event I’m really looking forward to organising and I’m hoping to get a few goodies for all the children who are willing to present as I think it could be a little bit nerve racking . Here’s hoping it goes well…
I’m also looking forward to organising my second TeachMeet as the first one was a really enjoyable affair with fantastic presenters and supportive sponsors. This time the event will be in term time (it’s so hard to sort one out in the holidays with everyone going away) and will be focusing on developing thinking skills and creating independent learners. As soon as I’ve got everything in place I will add it to the TeachMeet site but I have to say I’m feeling pretty enthused already and I hope people will enjoy contributing and being involved – I can’t do it without you.
Finally, I’m pretty sure you all know how proud I am of being Welsh and one event I’m really excited about attending is TMSwansea . It’s going to be a great opportunity to pick up new ideas and share some of my own, and I’m really looking forward to catching up with some fellow Welsh educators. In fact, with that in mind, I’m fortunate to be attending what I feel could be a really ground breaking event for Welsh educators on Friday – to discuss the development of #addcym. Inspired by Colin Hill ,and his great organising and vision surrounding the #ukedchat discussions, I’m now involved with a group of other ‘Welshies’ in developing something similar for Wales. That said, we’re quite happy for people from elsewhere to join in so if you’re on Twitter between 8pm and 9pm on a Sunday evening do look out for the #addcym hashtag – we’d love for you to vote in the poll and join in with the discussion – the more the merrier! There are exciting times ahead in the world of Education and I, for one, intend to be a part of it. And I’m hoping you’ll join me for the ride.
I’m not sure if you’re aware but there’s a bit of a shindig on this week. I believe it might be a royal wedding involving a couple called Wills and Kate. Now it occured to me that some of you might be looking for some royal things to do in school (if you’re indeed actually in school – my school is on hols until after the bank holiday!!) so I thought I’d gather together a few ideas of things you might like to do with your classes
I’m really pleased to see (although not at all surprised) that those fantastic people at Purple Mash have put together a small selection of activities for the event. There are some great Publish Projects with beautiful clip art created just for the occasion, including a fabulous newspaper template for reporting the event – some top ideas for pupils from Foundation age upwards. There are also some great apptivities available via Purple Mash that have could also be used to tie in with the celebrations: you could make a crown using 2Design and Make or use the castle or palace available via the Fairy Tales section of the Paint projects to create the perfect royal party venue. If you print off more than one copy of your palace you can get creative and join them together for a bit of small world play – just look here to see what I mean! Of course Purple Mash are not the only online site with some great resources available for you to use. TESiboard has also added a range of royal themed resources: from creating royal wedding outfits to a cake creation sequencing activity. In fact, TESconnect has got a whole list of resources in one convenient list - why not check it out!
There’s also a whole load of great websites you could use with your students if you want to get them to carry out and present research on the British Royal family, including their own official website and Mandy Barrow’s really useful Project Britain site, which has loads of sections just right for researching all sorts of areas of the royal family. If you want pupils to present their work via PowerPoint you might like to download this template of the Union Jack or this one of London. You can even take a tour of Westminster Abbey online if you want to! If you want to go down the design route, or do something completely different, why not get pupil’s to design wedding outfits using the ideas presented here or get them to actually plan a wedding, using spreadsheets to keep track of expenditure? It might just be the thing to get them interested! Other ideas you might try could involved designing place mats, wedding invitations or cards ( 2Publish+ or Microsoft Publisher would be good for this if you want the activities to be ICT based) or designing a menu fit for a princess (although possibly not along the lines of this activity!!!!). Whatever you decide to do I’m sure you’ll have a right old time!
Words. Phrases. Vocabulary. Subject specific language. We want children to use it in the correct way. We want them to try things out…take risks…be adventurous. We want pupils to identify and ‘magpie’ good ideas and extend their use of the English language. But it’s not always easy – how can we get them using language in the way we want them too? Maybe we need to get creative…
Word wheels, particularly with pictures or a subject specific background are a lovely way to develop vocabulary based around a topic. The image shown above was created using a setting included in 2Simple’s online creative space, Purple Mash (it’s included in 2Publish Extra): a product that recently won an ERA award and is really worth checking out! You can add up to eight words on this template (just enough in one go for younger ones or those with ALN) and the clip art library (plus other tools) is available for illustrating the wheel or individual words – it’s really easy to use! Also, in my opinion, pupils are far more likely to use a word wheel if they’ve created something themselves that they can be proud of: get them laminated so pupils can keep them in their trays or include them in their spelling journals, if you use them.
Older pupils might like to create their own calligrams for a working wall or display. You can do this in a number of ways with the pupils. This resource was created by downloading a whole load of appropriate free fonts from a website like Dafont but students could try creating their own calligrams using a combination of Word Art, autoshapes and appropriate fonts on a desktop publishing program like Microsoft Publisher. If you prefer, and you have a suitable art or graphics package available, you could use a program like 2Draw or Revelation Natural Art to create a similar effect and, if you haven’t got something like that installed, look online to web based applications like Sumo Paint – it has a text setting and is absolutely free!
Using a word cloud program to create a vocabulary mat is a pretty cool thing to do, especially as there a number of available word cloud generators to use. Wordle is a usable as ever and I have always loved the way you can customise your palette to reflect or enhance the meaning of the words. The fonts are not always as child friendly as they could be though, so it’s a good job that ABCWordYa has a selection of ‘friendlier’ fonts even if the features are not as extensive. Word it out is another worthy addition to this groups of word cloud generators but top of the tree has to be Tagxedo: allowing you to add shape to your word cloud is an act of pure genius.
Of course there are loads of other great things you can do in your classroom to help your pupils build a great vocabulary and not all of them involve technology. Make a word or sentence tree (although I really do like the one shown here for use on an IWB – it can be different every day and pupils can interact with it), create flash cards with picture or super cool word mats (or save time by searching online to find them already made for you), include key vocab on your working wall…just have fun with it. One free download I want to remind you of before signing off is Textorizer (as seen above in the picture of MLK) : free, cool and allows you to use an image as a background to overlay words on. Why not have a play with it (or any of the other ideas presented here)and see what you can create?
Earlier in the week I took part in an online where I was showing people how to create simple clip art images using autoshapes. The session was very popular and, near the end of the session, I shared some simple alien characters I had created using the same techniques. These were quite popular so tonight I’m posting a short video showing hot you can create your own. I’ve tried to include a few handy tips in the video that I think others might find useful. Here are a few more…
- If you create a shape or character you are particularly happy with save the Publisher or Powerpoint document so you can access it again and make simple changes - it’s much easier than starting things from scratch!
- If you want to save images with a clear background save them as PNGs – Jpegs and bitmaps will save with a white background (which you can remove easily when importing into some programs anyway.
- If you find things really tricky find an image you’d like to replicate and use the curve tool to trace over it carefully: this technique is particularly good for creating clip art images of historical figures and people as it will help you get the proportions right.
- In newer versions of Publisher you can sample fill and outline colours to get an exact match – this can be especially helpful when filling with pale colours and skin tones.
- If you have an idea what sorts of colours you want to use in your image, and you’re using 2010, select a colour scheme from the design tab first – that way you get graduated samples of the colours you want that are easy to access.
I hope you find that helpful – now it’s your turn to get creating
Time for another clip art tutorial using Autoshapes: this one showing how to create simple flowers. More on the way soon.
As everyone seemed to enjoy the Autoshapes clip art tutorial yesterday I’ve created another one. This one shows how to create simple background images (using just shapes, fill effects and grouping) that could be used in a number of different programs. As with yesterday you could use PowerPoint to create a similar effect if you preferred . You don’t have to save the grouped item as a .PNG file with this one (but it’s okay if you do).