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QR Project - Open House

Twitter Post Link - I saw this adorable QR code project on Twitter and decided to try it out with a couple of third grade classes. We have several schools in our district who are "Leader in Me" schools and I asked a teacher if I could come in and make them for her open house (you don't need to be a "Leader in Me" school but I know they do a lot of goal setting and mission statements). She loved the idea! I decided to use Flip (formally Flipgrid) to do the recording. The web based program is free for educators and automatically generates the needed QR code. We started on a Thursday. I pulled students into the hall to get a picture of them holding a square piece of paper prior to an ELA block. The paper acted as a place holder for the QR code (which is square) and ensured I got the correct hand spacing so the students looked like they were holding the QR code. I found a spot that didn't have anything in the background. The background

Sky Art Haikus

  I ran across a YouTube video from an art teacher, Darren Maltais , explaining how to use color gradients to make a night sky scene in Google slides. I liked how easy it was and started looking for a way to use it in the classroom. He has another video for sunrises but the idea is interchangeable.  Since April is poetry month, I thought I could tie it into a writing activity and picked Haiku’s for the simplicity.  I targeted third graders and approached a teacher friend to let me come in and try it with her group. It didn’t go as smoothly as I hoped but I did learn a lot! I made  a video of the entire process  if you want to check it out. I naively thought we could do the entire project in one 90-minute ELA block. That includes all the tech components AND writing an original haiku. We should have broken it up into two parts: 1. Writing the haiku and 2. Adding in all the tech elements.  To be fair students had only worked on haiku’s the day before and had very little time to

Digital Portraits

  We are still on winter break here in South Carolina and it has given me time to scroll Twitter more than I do during a normal work week.  I have found quite a few ideas I really liked but this digital portrait one is my favorite (at least for right now 😉). It came from a post that mentioned a Virtual Paint Party. Intrigued, I read through the comments and helpfully someone posted a link to the recorded "party" . I normally scroll Twitter in bed so I spent an hour watching the entire video (much to my husbands annoyance 🤣). The instructor Emma Cottier , a middle school teacher in Canada, was the guest presenter and did an outstanding job of walking through the steps of creating portraits using Google Drawings. There were so many excellent tips. My favorites were changing the color of the neck to provide contrast, using the Zoom feature liberally, and continually moving the originating photo to the front as you work in sections. She also showed student work and gave exampl

One Word Project 2022

I ran across this One Word Challenge on line last year and really liked the concept. The project/challenge is based on a book that explains how focusing on "one word" for the year helps to simplify what we really want to accomplish. In all fairness I haven't read the book but I did buy the student version of it. It is a picture book meant to be read to students at the beginning of the school year so I am not sure it would work for a new calendar year.  The word I chose this year is "Notice". The idea is to "notice" more of the small things I tend to overlook. It is a reminder to myself that positive things, ideas, and actions don't always come in "big" sweeping moments.  Last year I chose "Focus" and ordered an Etsy washer bracelet that I wore most of the year to help me remember. Etsy has fancier bracelets if that is something that appeals to you.  I thought the overall idea of choosing "one word" would make a goo

Photo Editing - Cool Eraser Tool

I just finished up Tony Vincent's Classy Graphics course. It is an excellent online class if you are looking for something fun and creative to do. I have actually taken all of his classes and they are all OUTSTANDING. I made the graphic above in his class as one of my assignments.  He shares so many tools and sites with classmates and one great website he highlighted was . It is a site that can remove ELEMENTS from a picture. I have heard of  sites where you can remove the background  of a picture but not an element of a picture. It is a simple tool to use. You simply upload the picture and then use the brush to erase an element. The system AI does the rest. Here is an example of removing a cone from a group picture.   Sometimes you have use the brush multiple times to get rid of an element. This picture required a lot of passes of the brush to remove the chair and unwanted guest. If you haven't tried it you definitely will want to bookmark the site for future

Giant Tacky Origami Book Character Holiday Shirts

  A co-worker and I are working with students the week before our holiday break to create these fun tacky book character holiday shirts.  I've seen and created  origami shirts in the past and hadn't really thought of them recently until I saw this cool video on how to make a GIANT origami shirt.  I liked the idea of creating a tacky holiday shirt but needed to make the project a bit more academic. My co-worker, a former ELA teacher, suggested adding book character elements in addition to the holiday elements and having students explain their choices in writing. It was such a genius idea that we made a couple of samples. We plan to work with a class so we brainstormed the requirements as we created the shirts. Students would need to work in pairs to complete the folding of the shirt. The instructor in the video did it by herself, and I tried, but it was really nice to have a second pair of hands. While we were working we thought students should be paired together by different