Thursday, August 30, 2012

Must See Websites

These are just a few websites that I keep coming back to year after year for ideas, inspiration and just to show the students what cool stuff is out there. Hope you enjoy them too. 

The Fun Theory -
Great inspirational videos that I have used to begin technology units and just for fun. The Fun Theory is a competition with a fantastic purpose to improve our world.

The Educational version of MTV. Short learning videos on everything from grammar and mathematics to science. 

Yowie Bay Primary School -
This school has a brilliant website and a really awesome resource link. The interactive whiteboard links are fantastic. 

This is an amazing website where you can show students how a bland and boring sentence or story can be turned into an amazing piece of writing. 

Writing Websites

These are websites that we use in Room 8. Each site has a different purpose and can be used in so many ways. They are all student tested and approved. Enjoy.

Comix! -
This is a very simple to use website designed to assist with comic creation. Great for all ability levels and perfect for those that need some motivation or help with writing.

The original word cloud creator. A brilliant website with so many possibilities for writing, language games or activities, spelling etc. The list goes on. This is a must in the classroom. 

This website takes word cloud creation to the next level. More advanced to use than "Wordle" but the end result is a bit more eye catching. Brilliant as a publishing tool, show piece or just for fun. Students will love it.

Storybird -

Animation Take # 1

Keanu and J'Khan created this first animation with a few props and an iPod touch. 38 photos later and some editing in iMovie and this is the finished animation. They will now work on improving their animations, thinking of new ideas and making the animations longer. Not bad for a first go though. 

This is their second attempt and they had swapped roles. The took 183 photos this time and tried to use more props. They have also looked at what they need to change and how to improve their techniques to fine tune their animations. 

This last animation was again about 160 photos, but this time both boys wanted to use some food and they had an idea about a magic bucket. 

iPad & iPod Curriculum Integration

Had a great bunch of teacher visit from Maunu Primary School in Whangarei. They are at the start of the same journey that we went on as a school in trying to implement iDevices into the classroom. This is how I use the devices in my Reading and Writing Task-boards. These task-boards have been created using Prometheans Activ Inspire software. 

This a screenshot of my task-board for Reading and the activities that I use.

And my Maths task-board.

The flp charts look slightly different when being used,  the icons below the task-board are hidden. If anyone wants a copy of the flp chart just drop me an e-mail and I will send them through. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Pinterest has had me hooked from day 1. It is a pin-board style social photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme based image collections and events. Users can browse other pinboards for inspiration, 're-pin' images to their own collections or 'like' photos. Pinterest's mission is to "connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find interesting. So many great educational ideas are pinned from all around the world you would be crazy not to take a look.  Get pinning now !

Apps - QR Codes

QR codes or Quick Response codes have been a hit in my classroom for the last couple of years since I discovered them. I had seen the strange barcode like images around the place as smartphones etc where beginning to take off but I had no idea what they were or how they were used. 

Since discovering the Apps and websites below we have found a heap of uses in the classroom in all curriculum areas. My students have loved to find their own uses for them, from alternate ways to display work to, embedded videos and information through to clues for QR games. 

I will add some of my students work and ideas when I have spare time. For now take a look below and just give it a go. 

QR code Treasure Hunts - this is the easiest and quickest way to create great games that will get the kids into QR codes and let them have fun at the same time. Awesome site. 

QR code Ideas - this site has a heap of practical ideas that you can try out in the classroom with QR codes. 

QR Code Creator - simple and easy. 

 QR code generator, simple and so easy to use. 
 QR code scanner.
QR code scanner. Slightly more bells and whistles than the above scanner. 

Apps - Augmented Reality

AR or Augmented Reality is fantastic and such a powerful motivator within the classroom. If you have know idea about AR then take a look at this link or just  download the Apps below and take a look at what you can do. Once you discover the amazing opportunities, fun, excitement, creativity and potential that AR offers you will be hooked. These Apps a the best and easiest that I have used. Have Fun...

String is the most fun, and the kids are just blown away by what they can see and do. Download the String targets and get introduced to the world of AR.

An amazing AR game that you play in the virtual world. This is so addictive and truly mind blowing. Visit the website or get the marker/target and start playing.

With the Apps below you will be able to attach virtual AR tags to ordinary objects then with the point of the iPod camera see them come to life in front of your eyes. 

 I will add examples and ideas that we have used in the classroom soon. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Animation - Stop Motion

Animation creation is so much fun. I have tried everything from claymation to stop-motion and everything in between. I have never done a whole class animation though. When a year 5/6 teacher challenged me to come up with a great idea to teach her class during my ICT release I showed the class this video below.

This sparked their imagination and they were hooked. I showed them the basics and then let them explore stop motion for themselves. They firstly produced a whole class animation that was not perfect but it was pretty great for a first up effort. They then got straight into designing their own group animations. So I thought that I would try the same thing with my year 3/4 class having never attempted a whole class animation like this before. Now that our Olympic Topic was coming to a close it was the perfect opportunity to explore something new, exciting and motivating for the whole class.

Our challenge is to do a better job than the seniors in Room 1. 

This is finished draft of our second attempt. 103 photos and about an hour worth of direction produced the following stop motion animation. Enjoy. 

This video below was created by our Principal Mr Ward and a group of students from his old school Otaika Valley, I have added it as another example of animation. They were winners of the Fair Go Ad Awards 2 years in a row. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Artful Websites

These are the websites, blogs and inspiration for Art that I have found very useful. Ideas should come easy !

We Heart Art - This is a one stop site for brilliant art ideas for in the classroom. Broken down into lessons by media or grade with tips and images of the completed artwork produced by students.

Keep Calm and Carry On - Make your own posters and publish live to the web or social media site. You can also turn your poster idea into your own souvenir, t-shirt or printed poster.

The Art Room - Another fantastic site with a heap of great art ideas for all levels. Explore away.

Tagxedo - If you have ever used Wordle then you will appreciate the brilliant level that Tagxedo takes word cloud creation to. Take any group of words and turn it into a visually stunning picture. Not as easy to use as Wordle, but the outcome is far more effective.

Wordle - Wordle is a site for creating word clouds. The cloud gives greater prominance to words that appear more often. You can tweak the cloud with different fonts, layouts, colours etc. The Wordle you create can be printed, saved and shared.

Fine Lines - Fine Lines is not as easy to navigate around than the other sites that I have recommended, but the ideas that you will come across are just as awesome. 

William Morris - Inspired Art

The Olympics were a perfect opportunity to try out some new art ideas. We looked at an artist and textile designer known as William Morris "" who lived in the late 18th century. His company Morris & Co. still produces textiles today. In a lot of his artwork we noticed repetition and rotation of the same objects. We decided that this would be our focus for our own Olympic inspired artwork.

We searched for an image from the London Olympics that we thought looked interesting and that we thought had the potential to look weird, strange or brilliant when it was rotated and repeated.

 We then imported the image into Pages where we masked any part of the image we wanted removed. We looked at masking the image so that in had "Points or Places" were the image would meet up again.

The next step was to duplicate the image before vertically and horizontally flipping them until we had a wallpaper in the style of William Morris.

Some images gave a better effect than others, but my students were really happy with the end result.