USN Lower School Technology!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sharing Out Powerpoints and Drawing for Children

This week our 4th graders are sharing their "All About Me" powerpoints, gathering at the carpet beneath the projector screen and taking turns using the wireless mouse to move through their presentations. This gives us time to discuss how different effects were achieved and why certain design elements were incorporated, providing the reflection piece that caps off a good discovery learning experience. These are WONDERFUL, and I may select one or two to share here, though I will not be creating an online celebration of these due to their very personal nature. They will, instead, reside in the 4th graders' personal portfolios, which will follow them up into 5th grade and beyond, moving from the 4th grade portfolio network folder to their new home in that grade level's folder.

3rd graders finish their "copy and paste" extravaganza, searching with the Webliographer's Google safe-search feature for images by and of their artist that they can later cut with their skissors (sic) and use in their hand-written Master Artist Unit reports. We're working with two windows open at a time, Word and Firefox or Internet Explorer, and maximizing and minimizing them as we need to search, copy, paste, resize, name and save, and finally print their two or three page word documents containing at least four images.

2nd graders are beginning a geometry unit so we are diving into Stacker Blocks, a freeware Tetris-like game that exercises flipping, rotating, predicting, and manipulating positive and negative space to keep playing as long as we can. The play becomes good-naturedly competive the moment the hi-score feature is noticed, and we'll see names bumped off the top-ten scores for the rest of the year, as well as students challenging themselves to appear there. Stacker Blocks is available for free download in the "Downloads" section of the Webliographer. Be warned: it's a fun game that you'll need to apply your "balancing your life and your time" skills to!

K and 1st graders are working with Drawing for Children (also available for download at the same site) to create and print fun Valentine hearts pictures. I'll share some of those here when we have finished, and I'm seeing that the activity will take many of our students more than one class period, which is good, since the holiday is at the end of next week. I've had one student already tell me that she's creating all of her valentines cards (we have a class policy that if you exchange one at school you need to have one for every student in the class) with Drawing for Children, using the freeware she and her parents installed on their home computer. Yay! One word of caution for those of you who do so--"D4K" creates HUGE .bmp files as its default format, so you might want to limit the number of saved images, or better yet, open them all occasionally with a graphics program and export them as .jpg files, then delete the bitmaps. Geek talk, but if you apply that strategy you'll save quite a bit of storage space on your home computer--which is of course in a family room if it has access to the internet, right?

Pics to come :)

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