…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…
So…here goes with my second post of the day – I must be mad. I did, however, promise a few people I would share a few of my bonkers ideas for using Angry Birds as a basis for learning in the classroom. I’m sure many of you have some ideas of your own to go with this topic and I have a few friends who have already been using Angry Birds activities as a way of engaging pupils in the classroom. Now not all of these ideas are ICT based but I promised I would share them so…here we go…
First the mad part. I was sitting on the train the other day with my ipad and I saw a mum bring out some home made toys for her little one. Simple felt balls, about 6 cms across, (created as shown above) with little eyes and extras on. I thought how that would make a lovely idea for a school fete or similar and made a note of it. Then she brought out a blue one that looked just like an Angry Bird – my mind went into overdrive. My initial idea was to get pupils to create them (or, possibly a friendly adult) and stuff them with a set weight of kapok so they could be used in maths for weighing/comparing/measuring. Maybe sort them so that the black one weighs twice as much as the red one which weights twice as much as the blue ones (if you know what I mean). After this, mind still in overdrive mode, I thought about creating a separate set of blue ones which had three mini blue ones inside – for times tables work or counting (but I realise this might be pushing things a little too far…). Of course, if money is no object, you could always purchase a complete set of Angry Birds plush toys but I doubt many school budgets would stretch to them!
Let’s move onto my next batch of mad ideas then. After maths I moved onto science. How about using the little blighters you’ve just made for maths in a lesson on forces, complete with giant catapult. Too dangerous? Well it’s just an idea. Coming back down to earth with a bump (!!!! – sorry, couldn’t resist) why not use autoshapes, or another shape drawing program, to create your own Angry Birds? They could be as simple or complicated as you like. The one above is fairly straightforward – I bet the pupils could come up with something better. Another ICT idea I came up with involved the use of 2DIY (or maybe even 2DIY 3D if you have access to Purple Mash): creating games based on the Angry Birds story and characters. Maybe a journey game where the birds have to sneak past the pigs. Or a collection game for finding golden eggs. Again – the children are bound to come up with much better ideas.
And so to my final few ideas for today (and, I’m warning you, I have loads more): let’s link to literacy. If there are pupils who are really familiar with the game they could hone their instruction writing skills by creating walkthroughs for other children to follow. I think this would be a lovely exercise that could involve some really obvious peer assessment. I also think that the initial introduction to the game would make an interesting story starter and, if you want to get really into it, why not get pupils to storyboard and create their own game trailers, similar to the one seen here? I bet they come up with some corkers!
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 was having a bit of a play around the other night on PowerPoint (as you do): trying to think of activities I could create using the DragDropandMore PowerPoint Macro I’ve used before to create a Comic Book and a few other items that can be used to develop thinking skills. After a bit of general faffing about I came up with the idea of using it in conjunction with some autoshapes to create a sort of hidden shape game that could be used with young children as an interesting and fun activity linking to their knowledge of 2D shapes. Now, as much as I love this macro, there are a few limitations. It doesn’t like PowerPoint 2010 or macs and although some people who tried it out for me, using PowerPoint 2003 and 2007, could get it to work it didn’t work for everyone. I’m not entirely sure why – as long as you’ve got your macro settings sorted so that your security is ‘Medium’ and macros are enabled it should work okay. Just one of those mysteries, I guess.
After I’d posted the link to the activity I had lots of questions about how it had been made, so I’ve decided to create a short video about the process, which is above. Since creating the activity I’ve had a few ideas about other activities that could be created: activities for identifying numbers and letters (or even words) sprung to mind, as did ones for missing words and cracking codes. I’ll probably have a bit more of a play with it over the next few days to bring some of these ideas to fruition. I also had a few suggestions from the people who tried it out initially (thank you) including the possible addition of an active text box, so pupils could type on the name of the shape, or having a number of shapes on each slide to turn it into a counting activity – both worthy suggestions that I look forward to trying out. But I am hoping that the template and the tutorial will possibly inspire you come up with a few ideas of your own
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 🙂