Mary Howard at “Your Smarticles” posted an awesome list of ways that you can use the Aurasma app in your classroom. For those of you new to Aurasma, I like to describe it as QR codes on steroids. However, any image can be the trigger – not just unattractive codes. I was impressed with Mary’s creative ideas, and I was even more impressed by the huge Aurasma Scavenger Hunt Mystery Person Silhouettes package that I downloaded from her Teachers Pay Teachers store. It is $5.00, but so well worth it! She has put a LOT of work into this download, and all you have to do is choose where to post the mysteries and make sure you subscribe to her Aurasma channel. Your students will love you for giving them this fun activity at the end of the year!
Last year, around this time, I posted about the Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) graduation speech that I planned to share with my gifted 5th graders. I did share it with them, and I intend to share it with my current 5th graders this week. They will go on to middle school next year, and Jeff Bezos says everything I hope these students will remember – much more eloquently than I can ever phrase it.
This weekend, I heard a TED talk on the TED Radio Hour from a different Bezos, Mark, who I assume is no direct relation. Mark is a volunteer fire fighter, and though his story is quite different, I am fairly certain that Jeff Bezos would nod his head in agreement with Mark’s message. One line, in particular, resonated with me, “Not every day is going to offer us a chance to save somebody’s life, but every day offers us an opportunity to affect one.”
And so, this year, my students will view two talks by men named Bezos. As a teacher for 23 years, I have tried my best to “save the shoes” on a daily basis. Before this group of kids move on, I am going to make one last attempt to enter that burning building and grab 16 pairs to dole out to my class. They might just throw them away, or they might slip them on and wear them forever. I will probably never know, either way.
Since this is my Fun Friday post for the week, I will not go into all of the ways you could connect this to classroom learning. Just watch, and enjoy!
I would be the first to raise my hand in a Superdome full of people if the following question was asked, “Who is the worst art teacher out there?” But if I can find a way to integrate art and technology, my lessons are sometimes fairly successful. This was one of those activities.
To complete this project we used the iPad camera, Tracing Paper Lite (free), and TypeDrawing ($2.99). There is a web site, Texter, that performs like TypeDrawing, and is free. However it does not have the font choices and the ability to import a picture as a background.
The students took pictures of each other in profile on the iPads. Then they opened Tracing Paper Lite, imported their pictures, and traced their silhouettes. If traced so that the silhouette has no openings, the students can then fill it with black paint. Because they were using Tracing Paper Lite, which did not have an easy way to export their silhouettes, I had them take screen shots (be sure to get rid of the grid in the background first), and crop them in the Photo Album. Then they opened TypeDrawing (here is a SnapGuide to using this app), imported the silhouettes, and added the traits that they felt characterized them.
I have seen this done without the use of technology, but the students enjoyed the freedom TypeDrawing gave to personalize the fonts, the colors, and even the direction of the words. Does anyone else have ideas for how this could be used?
Please don’t ask me the name of this website if you ever meet me in person because I think I’ve found almost as many ways to garble the title as there are years in an epoch. I don’t know why I can’t remember it as it is quite simple and makes perfect sense, but for some reason my inner Jeff Foxworthy keeps coming out and trying to re-name it, “This Here Day”.
As I said, this site is quite simple, and it is a great visualization of our place in time and in the universe. I happened to be about to do a Systems Thinking unit based on the book, Zoom, by Istvan Banyai, when I came across “Here is Today“, and it really added to our discussion about perspectives, big picture thinking, and connectedness. I was afraid the concept of “Here is Today” might escape my third graders, but the comparisons included on this website seemed to make quite an impact on them. They made great observations about the “Big Idea”, and how this related to practically everything we have learned this year, including our recent field trip to the Toyota Factory. This was also a great lead-in to our Old Faithful, the Powers of Ten video.
Remember, Here is Today. Better yet, just click on the link!
This performance by John Legend for TED says it all. This is what all children want to hear from the adults in their lives. I think it makes a good companion piece to this post by David Brooks, “The Seven Most Important People in A Child’s Life”. And, maybe it’s the kind of connection high school student, Jeff Bliss, really wishes all teachers would establish with their students…
I found “29 Ways to Stay Creative”, created by TO-FU Designs, on the Innovation Excellence blog. I’m not sure about the advice to “Drink coffee”, but I am definitely on board with the other 28. I already sing in the shower, so at least I’m taking a step in the right direction. My favorite one is, “Stop trying to be someone else’s perfect.” I think I’m going to print that one out and post it in my classroom.
Joe Hanson featured Kyle Bean’s “Brains” on It’s Okay to Be Smart – not his actual brains, of course – and I knew it would make a great Fun Friday post. When I visited Bean’s website, however, I found so many other works of art that I could tie into my curriculum, I had to take notes. Here are some of the links and my ideas…
Brains – what other objects could you use? (that’s toothpaste in the first one!!!)
Stick Insects - make matchstick art of their own
Interconnected Senses - what other systems could be represented this way?
The Sea of Time - assign students to represent an idiom with 3d objects
The Future of Books - have students design other futuristic hybrids
Paper Plane – they will just think this is cool!
The Science of Play - I think this is cool!
10 Ideas - great graphic to show when you want students to make a “Top 10″ list – like “Top 10 List of Top 10 Lists”
Pencil Shaving Portraits - make your own (maybe a Mother’s Day gift?)
What Came First - what else can we sculpture with eggshells (thoroughly sanitized, of course)?
In our district, most 5th grade GT students read the book, The Giver, by Lois Lowry. This amazing piece of dystopian literature spawns endless discussions about topics from the meaning of freedom to the potential consequences of genetic engineering. I have read this book with a group of students every year for 14 years, and I have never heard the same conversations twice.
Lisa Johnson at TechChef4u recently featured some iMovie trailers, and included some that were done about The Giver by Mr. Weinert’s 8th grade class. I hope to use them to get my class excited about the book next year, and perhaps have them create some of their own for one of the sequels to the novel.
Lisa Johnson also included a link to some storyboarding templates for iMovie on the iPad by Timothy Jefferson which you might want to check out as well.