iPad Photography

A group of 4th grade ELT students have been studying photography with their spectrum teacher, Mrs. Hunter.  They have also been working in the library to learn about digital photography and tips for taking great photos.  They collaborated on a Google doc to crowdsource a list of tips for taking digital photos, and they have explored many artistic ways to take photos around our school.

Over the past 2 days, these students have used our iPads to try even more ways of taking photographs.  Students explored the following apps:

  • Photobooth-Take a photo with many fun options.
  • Camera!-Take a photo and apply many options to edit it.
  • Pic Stitch-make collages and apply filters, stickers, and many other effects to each picture.
  • Panorama-take a panoramic photo and apply filters to it.
  • Pic Collage-Make a collage of photos from the camera roll, add text & stickers & backgrounds.
  • Tap FX-Take a photo or use the camera roll and apply effects & filters
  • PS Express-Use a picture from the camera roll and do basic to advanced photo editing.

The favorite by far was Tap FX because of the many explosions and fire effects you could add to a picture.

Once students tried several apps for taking photos and editing them, I asked them to select their favorite and email it to me.  They used their school Google accounts to attach their picture.  For many, email was still a new task, so this did slow us down a bit.  I loved seeing their creativity in taking photographs but also in using apps to apply filters and effects to their pictures.  I think their work has a lot of implications for future projects.  These students could become consultants that teach others how to use the various photography apps for projects.

Take a look at their favorites in this gallery:

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GPEE Bus Tour Across Georgia

 

Winning t-shirt design from Smiley Face Graphics

Remember this post about 4th graders traveling to the state department of education to model 21st century learning?  A part of this lesson was students designing a new t-shirt for our school.  This year, the designs were voted on and every student and teacher in the school received their very own shirt.  Today, we all wore them for a special event, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education Bus Tour Across Georgia.  This trip brings together influential people from around the state and tours them through multiple Georgia schools across Georgia.  This year the theme was “Georgia’s Public Schools: Using Technology, Creating Pathways for Student Success.”  Our school was selected as a stop on the tour based on the innovative work that occurs in our library and classrooms.

Over 100 guests arrived at our school and were split into 14 groups.  These groups were escorted by student tour guides to 5 different stops in our school.  Bus riders saw incredible instruction and technology use in multiple classrooms.  They also stopped by our library where select students from K-5 were showcasing projects that had already been completed.

For example:

  • Kindergarten students showed their digital alphabet books and photo stories
  • 1st graders showed how to use PebbleGo.
  • 2nd graders showed their Regions of Georgia commercials on Youtube.
  • 3rd graders showed digital inquiry projects about rocks as well as a rock pathfinder
  • 4th graders showed how we used a gadget in a Google form to collect data about locations of various Native American locations
  • 5th graders showed digital inquiry projects using Animoto, Glogster, Prezi, Simplebooklet, and Power Point.

It was truly amazing to step back and watch students from every grade talk about what they had learned from their technology projects.  They taught many of our guests about tools that they had never heard of, and many of the educators within the group plan to go back to their school to begin using some of the Web 2.0 tools featured today.

I was once again reminded of the expertise that hides within our buildings and how we need to give students the space to play, explore, create, and share their knowledge both about content and technology.

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Storybird with Kindergarten

Mrs. Kelly Hocking’s Kindergarten class has been hard at work collaborating with me in the media center on writing stories from art.  This idea was initiated in their classroom, and Mrs. Hocking asked me how I might support their class in doing this exploration using some kind of technology.

To start, I showed the class Storybird very briefly.  Storybird offers collections of artwork that inspire stories.  You select images from a collection and add your story.  Then, you publish your digital book to the web.

We spent the remainder of the first session looking at a wordless picture book under the document camera.  We used Andy Runton’s Owly and Wormy: Friends All Aflutter.  On each page, we asked ourselves who is in the picture?, where are they?, and what are they doing?  We split into 4 groups to look at even more wordless books in a smaller setting.  The classroom teacher, paraprofessional, special education teacher, and EIP teacher all supported a group.  I rotated between all 4 groups and took over groups if the teacher needed to give a particular student more support.

A couple of weeks went by where the students continued to use wordless books in their classroom to practice telling stories from art.  When they returned to the media center, I did a whole group modeling of how to use Storybird.  We looked at features like how to add a page, how to drag and drop a picture, and where to type the words.  We also talked about putting together a story and how you have to think carefully about which picture makes the most sense to come next in the story.  Finally, we talked about how to go back and re-read your story and make changes if needed.

The final lesson was back in small groups in the media center.  Each group had the same adult leaders and a laptop logged into storybird.  Each group had a different account.  The adult facilitated each group in creating their own storybird, but the students were expected to interact with the technology and construct the story.  The adult did most of the typing while the students selected pictures, typed limited text, and added pages.  Even in small groups, it was a challenge to maintain focus, but each group completed their story in our 45 minute time block.

These students are the only students in the school to have used Storybird, so they are now available to show other students and teachers in the school how it works.  I look forward to trying this again with many more classes.

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Read their Storybirds here:

Dragon Bat Girl Attacks Creepy Girl

Super Lightening Boy Saves the Day

The Party

The Happy Fairy and the Five Birds

International Dot Day 2012 @barrowmc

September 15(ish) is International Dot Day.  We’ve been celebrating for the past week in the Barrow Media Center.  Numerous classes came to listen to The Dot by Peter Reynolds.  We talked about the importance of making your mark on the world and avoiding the words “I can’t”.  After our discussion, students moved to tables and made dots in 2 different ways.

Using Drawcast on the iPad, students made digital dots in a variety of ways.  They saved their images to the iPad photo gallery.  We took those dots and imported them into a collective dot folder and used Animoto to make a digital dot gallery.  We also made a QR code and displayed it outside the library to link to our Animoto video.

At the other tables, student had access to coffee filters, markers, crayons, and color pencils.  They decorated their coffee filters in creative ways.  All of the paper dots filled the windows of the media center to the point that you almost couldn’t see in!  Some students used a spray bottle of water to spray their filters so that the color ran together.  After many classes came, we realized that our sprayed dots had created even more dots in the drying area.  The final class, Ms. Olin’s class, wrote on the drying paper “Barrow School Made Their Mark” and we displayed this in the hallway as well.

We hope our creativity will inspire others to make their mark on the world!

 

 

Digital Alphabet Books

 

 

Two Kindergarten classes have been collaborating with me in the library to support their study of the alphabet.  First students came to the library for a lesson on alphabet books.  We explored numerous alphabet books, upper/lowercase letters, and the sounds letters make.  I used LMNO Peas by Keith Baker to look specifically at upper/lowercase letters.  Next, we used Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet by David McLimans to continue looking at upper and lowercase letters, but in an animal format.  We put each illustration under the document camera, guessed what letter the animal was making, looked at the standard upper/lowercase letter, and talked about how the animal’s name started with the letter.  We ended with Alphabet Explosion: Search and Count from Alien to Zebra by John Nickle.  We put a few illustrations under the document camera and had students identify as many things as they could find that started with the letter of the alphabet represented on the page.  At the close, students checked out an alphabet book from our wide selection.

In class, students were each assigned a letter of the alphabet.  They decorated an uppercase & lowercase letter, added an illustration that represented that letter, and wrote the word for the illustration.  They also began practicing saying the letter, the sound it makes, and the word for their illustration.  In small groups, they brought their finished illustrations to the library to use the scanner to scan their images.  While students waited to scan, they continued practicing their scripts.  After 2 days of scanning, I imported all of their pictures into Photo Story.  Then, in small groups they came back to record their scripts for their assigned letter(s).  Once again, while students waited, they practiced.  After all students recorded their voices, I finalized the Photo Story and uploaded it to Youtube.  The students will come back to the library the next time they check out books for a premiere of their video, but you can get a sneak peek of one class below.

Student-made bookmarks: a piece of Participatory & MakerSpace Culture

Two of the goals for our library program this year are to explore how MakerSpaces, or the culture of MakerSpaces, could influence the structures and happenings in our library and to increase the participatory culture of our library program.  Two of the things that I emphasized in our library orientations this year were the idea that the library is a place to create just as much as it is a place to get books and that if students have an idea for our library program they need to help me think about how to make it happen.

While the following idea is not one of the most significant examples of participatory culture or MakerSpaces, it is a small piece that serves to spark other happenings during the year.  During orientation I suggested several examples of things that students might “make happen” during the year:  create book trailers, shelve books, become a technology consultant, etc.  One of those suggestions was to make bookmarks for other people to take.  I suggested that if you want to see bookmarks in the library why not make that happen by making your own and putting them in the bookmark holder.  Of course, with the busy start of the year, students forgot about it.  This week students have been coming to the library for Scantron testing on the computers.  When they finish, they just sit or read a book.  Today, I pulled out markers, color pencils, crayons, and chopped-up card stock and told them they also had an option of making bookmarks.  Almost every student chose to make a bookmark and their energy and excitement almost got out of control and disturbed testing!  Imagine that!  I documented their time through photographs and made an Animoto to play on our morning broadcast.  Some of the students took blank bookmarks with them to make and bring back later.  My hope is that their initial start will spark other students to want to participate.  Not all students have to participate, but they need to feel that if they do contribute that their participation matters.  I plan to do a quick talk on BTV after the video and see if this catches on spontaneously.  I want our participatory culture to become more organic where students are coming up with ideas themselves, making suggestions, and taking action, but I don’t think that can happen all of a sudden.  I’ll keep you posted!