Category Archives: Education

DANGERDUST

A lot of visitors to this blog seem to gravitate toward the posts that I’ve done about inspirational videos and quotes.  Earlier this week, I wrote about a great book that I purchased with hand-lettered quotes, Whatever You Are, Be a Good One.  If you are fond of illustrated quotes, you might want to take a look at the work of DANGERDUST on Etsy.  

Jessica Hische quote by DANGERDUST, available on Etsy
Jessica Hische quote by DANGERDUST, available on Etsy

Each of the prints that are sold by this anonymous duo are described as being “part of a weekly series originally drawn on a 4’x6′ chalkboard that was displayed at the Columbus College of Art & Design. Every week we would stealthily sneak into the school and vandalize the chalkboard with motivational quotes.”

I wish someone would vandalize my classroom this way!  The quotes are motivational and the lettering and other details are amazing.  Forget Successories.  These are the kinds of posters that would spark my creativity!

Steve Jobs chalkboard quote by DANGERDUST, available on Etsy
Steve Jobs chalkboard quote by DANGERDUST, available on Etsy

Erase All Kittens

Don’t worry.  There is nothing inhumane about this site.  And, if you are a fan of kittens and teaching kids how to code, then you will probably like it.

Erase all Kittens is a game that can be used to teach kids some programming skills.  The demo, which is available online, has several levels that scaffold learning to code (HTML and CSS) as the user plays a simple video game in which the goal is to release kittens from their box prisons.  Whenever you reach a kitten, you are rewarded with a short video of a cute kitten.  Each level is a bit harder, and you learn coding skills such as creating headings and changing colors so that you can more easily navigate.

My 11-year-old daughter was able to play the demo without any help from me.  She has a bit of experience with coding, though.  Whatever age level you try this with, the user needs to be able to read in order to make the necessary adjustments to the code.

If you want the full game, and you have some tech skills, you can visit this link.  Erase All Kittens is currently in beta, so the full version is not currently available to play online.  If you want to be notified about any updates, be sure to fill out your information on this page.

H/T to @wfryer for tweeting this link out last week!  If you would like to see more ideas for teaching kids how to code, feel free to visit my Pinterest Board on Programming for Kids.

Erase All Kittens

Whatever You Are, Be a Good One

I love inspirational quotes.  When I saw this book at the store, I instantly knew I would need to purchase it.  Each of the quotations is hand-lettered by Lisa Congdon, who began the series when she was doing a blog called, “365 Days of Hand Lettering.”  The title of the book,  Whatever You Are, Be a Good One, refers to the quote by Abraham Lincoln.

whateveryouare

I really hate cutting apart books, but each of these pages is worthy of framing.  There are several that encourage a healthy growth mindset, such as, “Success is never so interesting as struggle,” by Willa Cather, and, “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning to sail my ship,” by Louisa May Alcott.  You will also find encouraging quotes about kindness and being happy.

I haven’t figured out how I will be using the book in my classroom, but my students love to look for quotes.  They enjoy browsing my Pinterest Board of Favorite Quotations, and also like to choose quotes from other books that I have in the classroom.  (I have a picture frame with scrapbook paper on the inside, and they use dry-erase markers to write a “Quote of the Week” on it.  They also use quotes in their Dream Team projects.)

Another idea would be to show the students the style of the book, and have them choose their own quotes to hand-letter.  The Paper by 53 app on the iPad is a nice tool for doing this.

You would probably not want to let younger students (K-4) browse through this book unattended.  There is a quote from Dostoyevsky that uses a word that some might consider questionable.  Many of the quotes are a bit difficult for that age group to understand, anyway.

page from Whatever You Are, Be a Good One by Lisa Congdon
page from Whatever You Are, Be a Good One by Lisa Congdon

VidRhythm

I found myself in Seattle a few weeks ago, stuck in a 12-person van with my daughter’s synchronized swimming team on a road trip.  The girls were getting a bit stir crazy, and I was trying to think of a game we hadn’t played yet.  I desperately texted a music teacher friend, “What was that fun music app you showed me last month?”

VidRhythm.”

vidrhythm

I quickly downloaded it, and got the girls next to me to give their input on the song and style.  Once you choose a song and style, the app tells you certain sounds to make as you are recorded, then mixes them into a fun video. The video can then be shared to your camera roll or on social media (if you desire).

The team loved it.  Suddenly every girl in the van was downloading the app to her phone and making weird sounds.  In retrospect, maybe it wasn’t a great idea to try it out in an enclosed space…

I was reminded of the app when I saw this article on the Huffington Post about a recent video called, “Schoolhouse Re-mix” by DJ Overeasy. (You should check it out. It’s great!)  I don’t think DJ Overeasy used the app to make his video, but the effects are similar.

VidRhythm is rated for ages 9+, and available on iPhone and iPad.  It’s free.  I’m sharing it today because it’s Phun Phriday, and it’s definitely a lot of fun. Of course, kids will be kids and try to make all kinds of sounds that are not suggested by the app – so be prepared if it’s on a student’s device to hear and see some unique videos that only kids would dream up;)

Sherlock Holmes’ Resume

My daughter is a huge fan of the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes series so when I saw this, I had to show her.  We both had a chuckle over the graph of his interests :)

a portion of Sherlock Holmes' resume from Media Bistro
a portion of Sherlock Holmes’ resume from Media Bistro

You can see the infographic in its entirety by visiting Media Bistro. It’s being used to advertise for a new book on infographic resumes from McGraw-Hill.

Students could do a similar activity to analyze a character in any book or a person in history.  This would go along very well as a companion activity to creating a book trailer using the app I mentioned yesterday, “In a World… Drama.”  To create the infographic, students could design their own free-hand.  Or, you can visit this list of suggested websites to make infographics from Richard Byrne.

This activity not only allows students to show their understanding of a particular person while showcasing their creativity, but may also help them to develop a beneficial skill that they may need down the road.  My husband’s company has been receiving infographic resumes from prospective employees, and they definitely help the job applicants to stand out from the rest of the crowd!  (Of course, you probably would not want to highlight cigars as being your primary interest in life…)

 

In a World…

A couple of weeks ago, Apps Gone Free offered an app called, “In a World… Drama.”  I downloaded it, and then spent the next hour goofing around with it.

Unfortunately, the app is no longer free.  You can get the one I have for $1.99, or you can get plain old “In a World” (not the drama version) for .99.  I’m not sure of the differences – other than the one that I have is rated for ages 12+ and the other one is rated for ages 4+. (If you purchase the .99 version, you can then add the Drama and Comedy ones in-app for .99 each.)

This app allows you to create movie trailers.  The advantage of this app over iMovie and other video creation tools is that it comes with Jonathan Cook voice overs to add to the trailer.  That ubiquitous voice that seems to be behind every movie preview ever produced can now be added to one of your own creation.

Of course, you can’t make the voice say whatever you want.  (But wouldn’t that be great!) However, you do get to choose from many, many phrases.  Each stage of the trailer creation gives you more options.   You can also add your own photos and/or video.  There are several sound track offerings, or you can choose from the music on your iDevice.

screen from "In a World...Drama" app
screen from “In a World…Drama” app

As a teacher, I can see many uses for this, including to create “hooks” in the classroom to introduce a topic.  It would also be great for creative writing.  Students would have a blast with this as well – but be aware of the age recommendations.

This is an app that certainly lends itself to app smashing.  You can smash your completed video with other apps, such as iMovie. Or, you can create content in other apps to be included in your movie trailer.

The videos can be edited after you are finished.  This is helpful because I felt like I needed to determine what was going to be said before I found the images to go along with my project.

Once you are finished, you can upload the video to your camera roll, or even Vine or Instagram.

I was torn between making a parody for you starring my bulldog or an inspirational clip.  You can see for yourself which one I went with…