USN Lower School Technology!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

October artclectic week!

artclectic, USN's spectacular annual art show and sale, is close to my heart, since my dear wife Lee Ann, USN Arts Coordinator, is the prime mover of the event. It's HUGE, with dozens and dozens of dedicated parent volunteers working for weeks before the event. See for more information, and I most of all want to encourage everyone to come and see this year's offerings, work by 52 artists, 22 of them completely new to the show, from 10 states (including Hawaii!).

Details are at the artclectic website.

This week in the lab I'm sharing parts of the video I made, "artclectic, selected art from selected artists," with my own original (excepting one "traditional) instrumental recordings. It's around 30 minutes long and I'm pretty happy with it. If you have a fast internet connection, feel free to download and view it from USN, where I'm storing a "smaller" version of it for website publication. The larger version does more justice to the art, but if you want to spend a pleasant half hour with some stellar art in the privacy of your home, have at it. It's a ~154 Mb .wmv file, so it may be a long download for you! I hope to put it up at YouTube later in the week. At the same location is a smaller movie about the whole event that I put together last year, using podcast safe music from

It's the last week for Keyboarding for Kids in the computer lab for 4th graders, and the 3rd graders are moving well into Type to Learn 3, honing those beginning skills that they'll need to be refining over the next few years. Kindergarteners are starting to draw digitally, taking first tentative steps into the world of freeware program Drawing for Children. This program is free for download, and you can find it by visiting the Downloads section of our Webliographer. After a very brief introduction at the projector screen, the K-kiddos are asked to go open the program, choose a tool, and write their name at least once, raising their hand when finished. The teacher assistant or I then save the file locally and reset the page so the more fun work of exploring the tools can begin. Each week over the next several I'll share one or two important tools or skills with D4C and then set them about discovering new ones on their own. Ah, Guided Discovery Learning. I love my job.

1st graders will be diving back into Drawing for Children for the first time this year, and I differentiate for them this week by having them draw their names as many times, and in as many colors, with as many tools, as they can. The results, even this early in the week, are heartening. Here are a couple:

Second graders are creating abstract illustrations in Paint, then saving them in their "My Documents/My Pictures" folders so they can find them when we go back in and paste them into Word next week, resize them to fit the whole page, and format the images to washout in order to make personal stationery for their letter writing unit. It's interesting how engaging this can be, and how successful otherwise sometimes behavior- or focus-challenged kids can be when faced with a computer-enabled creative task. Here's one second grader's work, 20 minutes in a program he'd never used before. Don't you think it'll make a nice stationery design?:

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