One of my favorite units to teach is Drawing. For the drawing challenged, like myself, I find digital art is a great way to express creativity and my students do as well. I am always amazed at what comes out of them and how proud they become of what they have created. I also like to publish their work as often as possible, so I wanted to quickly share with you some great online resources for drawing with your students and an online gallery to showcase their work.
1. Weavesilk.com is our #1 favorite! The soothing music and the mystical weaving of colors that create abstract drawings is beautiful. You’ll be hooked after your first try.
2. http://drawisland.com/ has a lot of features and tools similar to the drawing toolbar in Word.
3. http://www.queeky.com/app We love the web drawing tool in this resource
4. http://www.artsonia.com/ I can’t say enough good things about this online art museum for students K-12. I’ve used it several years. It gives students a fan page that friends and family can follow, as well as purchase items with their art on it! This account can follow them throughout their school years so they can see how their creativity has grown. I even set up accounts for my own children.
I hope you find these resources useful and if you have some to share, please post them in the reply area. Happy creating!!
Publishing student’s work is a great way to share their creativity with your school community, parents, and the world (if you wish.) Not to mention, a great boost to student’s self-confidence to see their hard work come to life! There are many ways to publish art, photo projects, writing or just general classroom projects throughout the year. I see it as capturing learning moments in a time capsule that students and parents can come back to and enjoy. If you are a teacher wanting to find ways to create individual or classroom portfolios, class books, or collaborative projects that can be shared in a published format, I hope this list will give you a good starting point.
Another list of great publishing resources: http://classroom-aid.com/educational-resources/sharing-and-publishing/
If you’re wondering how I created this Wobook with my class, here are the steps:
1. Each student creates a page of content (pictures and text) and saves it as a .pdf
2. I created a shared Google folder that the students uploaded their .pdf to
3. Any file I wanted to appear in a certain order (like the cover of the book), I renamed the file with a number to place them in the order I wanted them to appear.
4. Select all files in the shared Google folder and download to your desktop
5. For Mac users, you select all .pdf files you just downloaded and open them in Preview. Combine all files into a “book” by selecting all files in preview except the cover. Drag those files on top of the cover to combine them into one file. Save to your desktop.
6. Upload this book you created in Preview to your Wobook account
This cool tool is so simple, but can be used to engage students and promote creative thinking. The newspaper clip generator can be used by teachers to create their own story prompts, brag on their students as well as create graphics for various things. Students can use this tool for character analysis, reflection posts and graphics for classroom movies they are creating. The possibilities are really endless. You can take your students back in time or predict the future all while helping students show their creative writing skills using this great app.
Here’s a little clipping I created for my students to read to prompt our daily “Good Things” conversation. How else do you see using this tool in your classroom or district?
Feedback…we all love it! We all need it! I want it to continue to improve or just to know if what I’ve said has sunk into my student’s brains.
In order to use technology and to try to engage my students more in the lesson, I’ve tried the clicker response systems in my classroom that have become popular over the years for instant feedback. If you have too, then you know the time it takes to set up your classes and questions. If you are wanting to do quick and easy polling with instant feedback that your class or audience can see, then you have to try out Mentimeter! They also provide QR codes to make it easier for everyone to access the voting question.
Here is a quick poll I created. Take a look by clicking here!
Now click on this link to vote on the poll and see the instant results right before your eyes! I think it’s pretty cool and I know my student’s will love it too.
What polling tools do you use in your classroom?
Using Word Drawing Toolbar
For years I have used this Drawing Word Packet in my Technology Applications class to engage my students. They have always loved creating digital art! It’s been one of their favorite units and mine as well because you really start to see and learn more about your students. For example, the House Project picture above was created by a student. To promote their digital art skills, I use to use Artsonia.com to upload my classes artwork for the world to see. Family and friends could be “fans” of the artist and buy products with the student’s artwork displayed. 15% of the purchases would come back to my classroom. It was a fabulous way to publish my student’s work….but that’s another blog post for another time.
Since schools, such as mine, are going more cloud based by using Google for Education, it is necessary to change the way you do things in the classroom. My unit is one of those things that is going to have to change. Although Google Draw doesn’t have everything the Word drawing toolbar offers, it provides something different….collaboration. Here are some suggestions of how you can use this drawing tool from the Google Blog. I like the idea that students can share their drawing with another student that can add a drawing to help complete their project. How many times have you said, “If only ‘insert great artist here’ could draw just this little part for me.” Well, now they can…in front of your own eyes! Students could give others drawing lessons in real time, or collaborate on a diagram for class. Using the chat feature, one could dictate how the drawing should look and the other could draw from their suggestions. All while they are looking at the shared drawing in real time. There are lots of possibilities.
How do you see using Google Draw in your classroom?
The Google browser, Chrome, has a web store full of apps! If you have a Google account, you use that to sign into the web store and you can download any app or browser extension that you like? Some have a price, but most are free! I love the educational section because it offers a ton of apps for every subject area. Some apps have advertising that you have to get around, but others load right away and are ready to use! Here is my list of favorites so far.
1. Biodigital: This anatomy app loads a 3-D skeleton you can pan around and through. On the left of the model you can turn on different body systems to see them appear on the skeleton. Then you can get a closer look at these items and even dissect them. It really knocks the socks off the traditional classroom models that teachers use today.
2. Fractulator: I used this to help my daughter with her homework over mixed fractions one night. If it weren’t for this app I would have never noticed the mistakes she was making because I hadn’t solved these types of problems in YEARS!
3. Ge.tt: This file sharing app is as easy as drag and drop. Drag your files into the Ge.tt screen and it generates a URL to send to someone. All files are stored for 30 days unless you sign up for an account.
4. Quick Note: This app looks just like a notepad. I use this for note taking at conferences, meeting and observing other teachers. I love it!
5. Stopwatch: If you need a timer or stopwatch, this easy app will keep your lessons in sequence and on time!
6. Connected Mind: Mind mapping is great for planning out a story or thinking through an idea. This app is easy to use and very colorful.
7. Drawitlive: Collaborate with another person or show someone how to solve a problem with interactive whiteboard. When the app opens you choose a username, then the whiteboard appears with a link to send someone. When they open the link they can see the board and you can both chat and draw to communicate.
8. Periodic Table Game & Elementals: These are great for learning the table in different ways. One is a game to recognize the element and the other has an animation showing the number of electrons and protons. Both are great for any student learning the PT.
9. Little Alchemy: What happens when fire mixes with air? Mix some elements together and see what happens! Fun and interactive. The more you mix, the more elements you create to mix together.
10. Pixlr-o-matic: This great photo app has effects, overlays and borders that you can use with a webcam photo or a photo from your computer. No iPhone? No problem.
Google Chrome web store also has extensions to add to your browser bar. Look for Dropbox, web timer and Evernote just to name a few.
Have you used Chrome apps in your classroom? What have you found useful with your students?
**Another reference to check out: http://tjhouston.com/2011/07/25-chrome-web-apps-to-use-in-the-classroom/
Since our district has “gone Google” this school year, I have become familiar with more Google tools than ever before. Google sites is one of those, but there is one resource that helped me tremendously that I want to share with you. @FollowMolly has a great website that can help you with your Google site building and many more Google related applications.
Here is also a list of resources that will be mentioned in my SimpleK12 webinar called Web Sites Made Easy: Part 2. Check them out and add to the design or content of your Google Site.
5. Embedding Gadget
I just finished my week long discussion/activity lesson with my students over copyright. It’s an important one to have in any class, but especially Multimedia. We create, re-mix and re-use lots of already made media on the internet. A lot of the media we use belongs to a creator, and their creations should be treated with respect.
I try to put my students in the place of successful artists and composers by having them create original, digital artwork in GIMP and an original song in Garageband. After a day or two of creating, I start the lesson by defining copyright and why it’s important. We used the Cyberbee website to guide the questions in a logical order. I created a Copyright Discussion Guide Sheet for students to follow along to keep them accountable. I find middle schoolers do well when they have a purpose besides just contributing to the conversation. Once we were done with the general discussion of copyright, I want to have the students imagine different scenarios and tell me if they think those people are using fair use or if they are abusing copyright. The worksheet I use needs to be converted to a digital format to share but here is a sample of the types of scenarios it asks to the students to think about.
Finally, I used this site to explain the consequences of copyright abuse and a current online article to drive home that more is starting to be done to punish those who continuously break copyright laws. I love the conversations and questions that arise over these lessons. The students think about all the things they’ve done and want to know if they’ve been doing what’s right or not. However, even after reflecting on the lesson from the week, more than half the students still claim they will download music illegally. I hope each time they do it, a little bit of my lessons start to eat away at their conscience, but then again, don’t we still speed every chance we think the cops aren’t looking? I think it’s the same concept.
If you’re looking for more curriculum over copyright, and digital citizenship in general, then check out Common Sense Media’s school curriculum. Although, the lessons listed above don’t come from this site, I’ve used their lessons and videos the past 2 years and they are well done and ready to go over every topic.
If you have something to share, leave a comment below. I would love to hear how you teach copyright and the responses you get from your students.
If you haven’t heard of Class Dojo yet, or tried it out in your classroom, then start today. It’s so easy to use and it has made a difference in my classes. All you do is use your computer, iPad or smartphone to access Class Dojo and give students positive or negative points towards their behavior. For example, if Mary is working hard, then I can reward her for her efforts. If Little Johnny is out of his chair without permission, then I can give him a negative point as a consequence, however, this motivates my students to behave so they can start accumulating positive points. You can use the points as a way to grade participation in class or just as a management tool. When you end the class a donut chart will appear showing the breakdown points given. The class can see the overall behavior for the day, but you can also see individuals charts as well by clicking on their name. Class Dojo has a “mock” class for you to try out before you start using it with your own classes. So what are you waiting for? Give it a try and let me know how it has worked for you!
I found this tool while browsing through Adam Bellow’s edutTecher App on my iPhone. Anything that states you can create a final product in 10 minutes catches my attention for classroom use. After trying out Slidestaxx I was hooked and I can’t wait to have my students create one as well.
So what is Slidestaxx? It is a free web tool that allows you to gather social media from various sources and create a slideshow to post on your blog or wiki. You can also just send out the link to your published slideshow. A Slidestaxx can contain a collection of pictures, websites and videos. I see lots of possibilities for using this cool, new tool in my classroom and I wanted to share one Slidestaxx with you that I created for my class.
My blog does not allow me to embed this media so just click on the picture to get to the slideshow
I will be talking about this tool with SimpleK12′s Teacher Learning Community on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 4:30 central time. Come join me and see how to set up your first Slidestaxx presentation.
How do you see using this tool in your classroom? I’m always looking for ideas so share with me!