Countdown to Christmas has begun and in schools all over the country children are producing items to take home or sell at Christmas events. There are numerous opportunities for this to be linked to ICT skills using a number of different applications. You could use 2Paint a picture to create a repeated winter pattern (see below), so that the printed paper can be used to construct a simple gift bag. In fact it’s pretty easy to come up with ideas for the younger pupils – they’re usually quite happy to create images, cards, gift tags and other such items.
But what about your more discerning older child: those in Year 5 or Year 6. They might want to make something a little more grown up, particularly if it’s something to take home or use as a gift. So here’s a cool idea that uses the free online application with absolutely loads of uses – Wordle. Start by creating a 2010 calendar using Microsoft Publisher for all the pupils to use as a basis for their project. Let them alter the font scheme or colour scheme if they wish (they could even have the option of making each page completely different if they wanted to). All they then have to to do is create Wordles that represented the different months of the year, creating custom colour schemes for each one (if they feel it necessary) before saving the Wordles as images (you could use Gadwin print screen to do this) and then inserting them into the calendar template. Easy Peasy!
it can be great fun coming up with short lists of words to represent each month. You could make them a bit more personal if you wish! Use the tilde symbol (~) to link words together when you want to make short phrases (as you can see the example above uses the phrase ‘less days’). Pupils can also spend time creating custom colour palettes for some of the months – it increases the flexibility of Wordle as we could colour match words to items where possible (as above with valentine in the February example) or give the palette an overall colour scheme that reflected the month in question (as in the April example below using Spring colours)
Another thing that works well is to vary the layout and font on every month and to we try to match the font to the mood – notice how February used a free flowing cursive style font ( mainly because it is romantic looking) whilst the December example below uses a more angular font (because it looks colder).