Tag Archives: project-based

Digital Storytelling with Animated Powerpoint – 100,000 Youtube Views and Counting!

4 Mar

In 2011, some of you were there with me when I gave my first conference presentations to standing room only crowds at both FETC in Orlando, FL and in Philadelphia at the ISTE Conference.  The presentation was titled “Elementary Media Projects You Have to See to Believe!” and it never failed to live up to the hype.  With innovative project ideas and inspirational student work samples, student-created media was (and is) one of my favorite things to speak on.  It’s truly incredible what even our youngest students can do!

Click to view student-created example!

One of the most popular projects from that presentation was the use of animations in PowerPoint to create digital storybooks that played like an animated movie.  This type of project supports reading, writing, fluency and editing.  It helps students to think and write with all of their senses and to experiment with various concepts of spatial thinking.  Plus, it actually serves as a great precursor to computer programming through the use of strategic design thinking in executing both linear and parallel animation sequences to accomplish different visual effects.  And the kids just love it!

To support my own students, as well as the other students and teachers who started experimenting with this type of project, I created a set of tutorial videos that walk through each step of the process.  I then hosted them on YouTube so that teachers could embed the tutorial videos into their own school and class websites to share with their students.  Since then, countless numbers of student created projects have followed…. along with this week’s 100,000 viewer milestone for the full tutorial on YouTube!

I wanted to share this momentous milestone with each of you who have used and shared these resources.  Your efforts to give your students voice and purpose are commendable… and it has brought me great pleasure to provide this and other resources to the incredible ed-tech community over the last few years!

And if you are new to this idea, below you can find the video and some information about using it in class.  You can also learn more about innovative ways to use PowerPoint and other student media creation tools in the Interactive Student-Created Digital Media Portal in the site’s Resources.

Happy creating, learning, and teaching!
-Nancye

Creating with Animated PowerPoints

Kids love illustrating their stories. Using clip art in PowerPoint is a great way to allow our young students to create complex illustrations for their writing and stories without depending on their ability to draw them. And the best part? When they’re all done, these animated storybooks actually play like a movie.

The Concept:
Illustrate and animate a narrative using custom animations and timers in PowerPoint or comparable presentation software

The Applications:
Creative Writing – Identifying Setting & Characters, Plot, Sequencing, Character Development, Dialogue, Voice
Math – Real World Problem Solving, Geometric Transformations, Equivalent Fractions
Demonstrate Scientific Concepts – Virtual Experiments, Revolution of the Planets, Water Cycle
Social Studies Concepts – Election Process, Teeth Care/Dentist, People in my Neighborhood
*Students can complete a whole story or documentary on their own or each student make one slide to combine into a class “video.”

The Hows:
Prerequisite skills: Decent spelling ability (clip art searches must be spelled correctly), Familiarity with the basics of PowerPoint (text boxes, clip art, transitions)

  • The Storyboard – Before beginning to create the animated illustrations, students should either write their rough/final drafts of their story or voice overs… or at least have a decent flow map story board or what happens in each scene.
  • Create slides using the following tutorial video. You can also embed this video into your own teacher website to use with your students.
    • Have students save their work often. At least once every ten minutes.

This video and/or the step-by-step tutorials below can be linked/embedded into your class or school website.

TIPS:

  • Inserting clipart – All backgrounds and clipart should be inserted as movable objects. Objects that come in and out of the scene can be placed outside of the slide. Also, let students use creative problem solving to “crop” clip art to get one piece of a larger picture.
  • Custom Animations – When creating the animations, instead of using “after previous,” set all animations to happen at the same time and then use the time delay to make them happen over the span of the slide. If you don’t do this, the animations won’t run at the same time as the narration after they are recorded.

Visit our class website to see several more samples, like:
A Retelling of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” by a 4th Grader
Animated Commercial integrating Excel Graph by a 3rd Grader
Science Experiment Demo
And for some mind-blowing inspiration, check out some of the work at the PowerPoint Heaven website!

Video Tutorials – To use with your students or embed into your own site!
Full Video
Part 1: Intro & Samples
Part 2: Getting Started: Background and Clip Art
Part 3: Adding Custom Animations
Part 4: Adding Text
Part 5: Recording Narration
Part 6: Setting Automatic Timers

Growing School Gardens: An Eco-lutionary Move

10 Sep

Something “eco-lutionary” is cropping up at schools across the country.  While some students might be experiencing the start of the new academic year from behind a desk, others are embracing an expansive sense of classroom that reaches far beyond the schoolhouse walls and into the green.

At our public charter school, Lakeland Montessori Middle School, teachers and administration plan the year with explorations into green space in mind.  P.E. sometimes takes place running around a lake, field trips include environmental clean-ups and snorkeling, and studying biology means much more than just looking at pictures in textbooks.  In fact, during the last school year, the students at LMMS struck up an interesting partnership with one local restaurant, the Red Door Wine Market.  Synthesizing their learning of biology, weather, collaborative design, math, business and even presentation skills, the students designed, proposed and executed the implementation of a “farm-to-table” concept on the restaurant’s grounds.

The result of this entrepreneurial project is a flourishing garden that provides organic lettuces, peppers, herbs and other produce to be served to patrons at the Red Door.  Students were extremely proud to see the literal fruits of their labor… and ecstatic when they first saw “Montessori grown greens” appear on the menu.  Several of the students happened to be on site the last time I ate on the outdoor patio at Red Door.  When asked about the garden, they were eager to share about their project, detailing the various plants sprouting up around the grounds.  In addition to their pride, the depth of learning and retention from the project was also clearly evident.

According to Angeline Stoll Lillard’s book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius, working with plants, nature and environmental elements is an integral part of the Montessori educational model.  Maria Montessori went as far as suggesting that elementary classrooms should include ornamental plants, which the children could tend… and that middle grades education should include running both a farm and a local store at which to sell their produce.   Instead of preparing students for the “real world,” this type of project-based Montessori education provides students the present-day opportunity to be valuable contributors to their local community and economy.

Yet the school gardening movement is not limited simply to Montessori schools or even high school agriculture classes.  In fact, many communities and schools across the country are discovering the benefits of empowering students to plant and grow foods.  In his TED Talk, “A Teacher Growing Green in the South Bronx,” educator Stephen Ritz passionately talks about how growing vegetables, fruits, and flowers has transformed his community, starting inside the classroom and spreading throughout the city.  School gardening in the Bronx is improving both academic achievement and their standard of living.  The students in Ritz’ first cohort of classroom farmers were previously struggling in school with only a 40% attendance rate; with the impact of this program, attendance increased to 93% and all of those students are now in college and earning a living wage.  Ritz says he’s “growing organic citizens, engaged kids.”

Other TED Talkers also see student gardening as a means to economic prosperity.  Ron Finley, A Guerilla Gardner in South Central LA, says that “growing your own food is like printing your own money.”  With little exposure to green space and whole foods, inner city students in South Central LA suffer physically and economically.  A movement to garden in public spaces is changing this for kids in Finley’s neighborhood.  Finley continues, “You’d be surprised how kids are affected by this.  Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do, especially in the inner city.  Plus, you get strawberries… If kids grow kale, they eat kale.  When kids grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes.  But when none of this is presented to them, if they’re not shown how food affects the mind and the body, they blindly eat whatever the hell you put in front of them… I see young people and they want to work, but they’re in this thing where they’re caught up – I see kids of color and they’re just on this track that’s designed for them, that leads to nowhere.  So with gardening, I see an opportunity where we can train these kids to take over their communities, to have a sustainable life.  And when we do this, who knows?  We might produce the next George Washington Carver.”

School gardening combines learning from all curricular areas into a real world application with multi-faceted benefits to students.  I have personally seen these academic and affective benefits first-hand in the students at Lakeland Montessori Middle.

So, how do you get started with gardening in your school?  Fortunately, there are several ways to learn more – starting today!

The School Gardens Community on edWeb.net is an active group of educators sharing free resources and discussions on growing school gardens.  You can join this community edweb.net/schoolgardens and gain access to their upcoming webinars on growing schools gardening, such as:

–  Inquiry in the Garden: Facilitating Student-Led Investigations for Grades K-8 in an Outdoor, Living Laboratory     Tuesday, September 10, 2013- 4pm / Eastern Time
Presenter: Whitney Cohen, Education Director at Life Lab

–   From School Garden to Cafeteria Table: How to Plan, Grow, and Use Garden Produce in a School Cafeteria Lunch Program    Tuesday, October 1, 2013- 4pm / Eastern Time
Presenter: Matthew Doris, Food Service Director & Chef, Tuckahoe Common School District, Southampton, NY.

The School Gardens Community also shares an e-guide about school garden planning and lesson integration by New Jersey educator, Dorothy Mullen, which definitely deserves a look.

One other way to introduce gardening to your students is with a new book by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.  Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table is a beautiful picture book telling the biography of a former basketball star turned gardener turned MacArthur Foundation Fellow.  In her review of the book, Elizabeth Bird praises Martin for masterfully portraying the connection between economic stratification and access to healthy foods “without getting anywhere near a soapbox.”  More than that, students learn how, with dedication and hard work, someone can turn a big idea into a meaningful reality.  The best part?  The book officially releases today.  And if one book isn’t enough, look for other books that with potential to introduce your deep classroom conversations about gardening, food, health, and economics on the International Reading Association’s list of leveled reading books on the subject.

By making gardening an integral part of project- and inquiry-based learning, we have a unique opportunity to provide our students with more than just academic knowledge.  Instead, we can empower them by developing practical skills for success, not only in math and science, but also in collaboration, problem solving and iterative design; we can raise them with a profound sense of capacity to create, to grow, and to succeed.  Plus, as Ron Finley would say, “you get strawberries.”

 

Nancye Black

Nancye Blair Black is an award-winning educator, author and educational consultant.  She also proudly serves on the Board of Directors for Lakeland Montessori Middle School, a free public charter school in Lakeland, FL.

More information about the LMMS gardening project can be found on The Ledger and WFLA News.

5 Stereoscopic 3D Resources for Elementary Students

19 Jun

Looking for a way to test the waters of stereoscopic 3D teaching and learning with your elementary students? Here are a few ways to start integrating the benefits of 3D learning right away:

3D Ladibug Document Camera: This dynamic document camera is able to perform all of the basic tasks of a traditional document camera. Plus, it can show objects and manipulatives in anaglyph (red/cyan) and stereoscopic 3D (passive or active) by using the 3D software. In the 3D Ladibug pilot, elementary students were more engaged in lessons and more interested in creating models to use when presenting to the class, creating a more hands-on and collaborative learning environment.

Presente3D: Most elementary students begin learning to use Microsoft PowerPoint at an early age. When I was a K-5 Technology Specialist, we started using PowerPoint successfully with our first graders. Presente 3D is an add-on to Microsoft PowerPoint, allowing the students to turn their presentations into anaglyph or stereoscopic 3D! By giving students the power to create and present in this intriguing platform, we can increase attention and motivation with our students. Their website offers a free download of Presente3D in demo mode – a great to try out its potential!

Kid Pix 3D: While Kid Pix has been a staple for student digital artwork for several years, the new version of Kid Pix allow students to create both images and videos in anaglyph 3D. There is even a way for students to record their faces inside of digital costumes, putting themselves right into the 3D action. Kid Pix 3D offers a 15 day free trial of their software here.

Hasbro-my3DHasbro My3D: This nifty gadget turns your iPod Touch or iPhone into a 21st Century View Master. By downloading compatible stereoscopic 3D single-player games and interactives, students can have the sensation of immersive experiences like traveling through the Solar System or swimming with sharks.

– 3D Books: Books with anaglyph images are popping up everywhere… and students are captivated by both the pictures and the content. Topics range from space to geography to animals. Look for them at your local bookstore or even the school bookfair. A couple of my students’ favorites are Eye-Popping 3D Pets and Extreme 3-D: Dangerous Animals.

There are so many ways to get started with stereoscopic 3D in the elementary classroom. In addition to these 5 easy-to-get-started resources, there are also great stereoscopic 3D video clips, simulations and interactives available. Look for future posts with more information and recommendations!

 

NancyeBlack

Nancye Blair Black is an award-winning educator, speaker, author, and consultant.  She is the Founder and Chair of ISTE’s Special Interest Group for 3D in Education (iste.org/sig3d) and recently published a chapter on 3D document camera use in the IGI Global book, Cases on 3D Technology Application and Integration in Education.

Interview with Megan Power – Innovative 3D Educator!

12 Jun

Megan Power3D Movie-Making? In Kindergarten? Although this might sound crazy to some, to Megan Power this is just a small example of what her students are capable of! In her eleventh year of teaching in Poway Unified School District in San Diego, California, she has been an innovative technology integrator. This is her sixth year making movies with her students, but last year marked their first year working in 3D… and it was a great success! Their film “Flashback in Time” won two San Diego County Office of Education Innovative Video in Education (SDCOE iVIE) awards in the K-2 and People’s Choice divisions.

So, what does Megan have to say about teaching and learning in stereoscopic 3D? Let’s find out!

Q: How long have you been working with 3D technologies and in what capacity?
Megan: I have been using stereoscopic 3D in my classroom for 1 year.

Q: What made you decide to integrate 3D teaching and learning into your classroom?
Megan: My kindergarten class was writing and filming a movie about decades in history last year and we wanted our audience to feel like they were really in the past. Our original idea was to film in 3D so the movie would be more realistic and allow viewers to experience the past with “future” technology. When researching the 20s, 50s, and 80s we found that 3D was around at those time periods. This finding became a very important piece that was threaded in our movie. 3D also gave the students a chance to learn about our sense of sight and about different perspectives.This directly connected to our comprehension work on inference and character perspectives.

Q: In what ways have you found 3D technologies innovative, unique and/or helpful in education?
Megan: 3D is exciting and engaging. Because it is so close to real life students remember concepts and content more. It brings a whole new depth to learning and video.

Q: What are your thoughts on student use (K-12 or college) of 3D technologies?
Megan: Any type of filming project with students is powerful. When you give students another dimension to work in, the project gets that much better. Students really have to think about the content and about the process of filming on a deeper level when creating in 3D. I would like to experiment more with 3D content in the classroom and am excited to see more students’ 3D projects.

Q: How can readers find out more about your work?
Megan: People can find out more by watching our movie on YouTube.

Flashback in Time 3D