Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Scooter the Dog

I've been doing this blog for several years now and it just occurred to me that not once have I ever given a pitch about my beloved dog Scooter!  Now just wait, before you go judging me about this being a "school" blog and I'm posting about my dog, I promise there is an academic undertone to this post...so stay with me.

First, if you haven't already, check out my pup Scooter on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  You will not be disappointed, I promise (at the very least, it's always fun to look at his pics for a good laugh, especially on Mondays).

I have been blessed with the most patient dog in the entire world.  Seriously.  Here's a few pics to prove it to you:

So it's obvious I like capturing images (hence most of my blog posts include some sort of picture or video), and hopefully by seeing those pics it's really obvious to you that I love taking pictures of my dog (and son) posing for all sorts of pictures.

After having tons and tons of "Scooter pictures" at my disposal, I decided to actually do something with them (this is where the academic part comes in!).  I've written 3 "Scooter the Dog" children's iBooks that are available for FREE on iTunes for you to download onto your iPad, iPhone, or Mac, and another few iBooks that are on their way to the iTunes store soon once they've been approved by Apple.  These are children's books, with an age-level roughly around preschool and early elementary (although my 4 month old son loves to have these read to them, and I've had high schoolers enjoy reading them too! (probably because of the pictures!)).  This is a new hobby that I am really enjoying.  I've always wanted to write a novel, and decided to start small with doing some children's books first with my own "illustrations" before I tackle my novel idea.  Anyways, if you like to read, or like to read to little ones, check out these books!  I hope you'll enjoy them (click the links below to go to iTunes to that book) and following Scooter along on his many adventures and journeys.

Monday, September 16, 2013

iMovie Challenge

In tech class, we've been doing a lot with iMovie.  A couple weeks ago we did an iMovie trailer project that the students totally rocked.  This past week we did an iMovie challenge project, where students had to use certain elements (pictures, song) that were given to them and turn them into a movie where they all tied together.

As a class we went over several basics of iMovie and how to use it, but mostly the students took those basics and just began to play and experiment and figure out how to use iMovie.  Students also figured out how to use MacTubes to grab clips of other videos from YouTube, mix songs using Garageband, and find pictures from open-sources on Google images and use them in their movie.

Once again, these students' creativity was shining brightly in their work!  The vastly different stories they all came up with using the same pictures and song just demonstrates how all of them think differently about the same content.  It truly was a cool project to watch them create into their own iMovie projects.  Here are a few for you to enjoy.

George vs. George Skits

A couple of years ago we tackled learning about George Washington and King George III by acting out their lives, backgrounds, and roles in the American Revolution.  The students two years ago loved the George vs. George skits SO much I decided to do them again this year with this current batch of 8th graders.

Students were divided into groups and given a section of this book, "George vs. George" to read about their topic (either George Washington, King George III, British army, rebel army, etc...).  They then had to come up with a skit that taught the material in their reading to their classmates in an easy-to-understand way.  Some groups decided to make their skit into a "flashback to history" skit, others decided to interview King George III for a tv show to question him about his life.

All in all, students did a fantastic job on their skits!  Here is a teaser trailer for the skits the students did.  Enjoy!

The French & Indian War Movie Posters & Critiques

One of the best parts about looping is that you go through two years before you get back to the same curriculum again.  I like this because the content stays fresher and doesn't become boring or tedious (as it probably would if you were teaching the same thing every single year).

Two years ago I blogged about our French & Indian War projects.  Being a huge movie buff, this is one of my favorite projects we do in social studies, so I was super excited about getting to do it again this year.  This project called for students to turn the French & Indian War into a movie; they had to design a movie poster that fit the "plot" of their movie, and then write a critique that summarized the "movie" and gave their opinion on the movie as well.

Once again, these students amazed me!  Their creativity shined brightly in the posters and critiques they were able to produce!  Here are some of the rockstar movie posters and critiques this 8th grade group did.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 6, 2013

More Screencasting!

Last year in tech students created screencasts using Screencast-o-Matic.  As much as I love how easy this site is to use, for some reason our images on our school MacBooks doesn't like the site!  So we decided to instead use the screencasting tool built into QuickTime player (that was already on the student's laptops).

Students then set out to create a screencast about how to use a program or application on their computer.  They had specific guidelines that had to follow (see here), but pretty much had free reign to make a screencast on whatever they thought would be useful for others to know how to do.

I like this project for a couple of reasons...first, it teaches the students how to make a screencast.  And second, it creates a library of "how to" videos for other students (and teachers, and parents!) to learn from!  I've already sent out a few of these "how to" videos that the students made to others who were asking how to access a certain program (i.e. our online social studies textbook).

Anyways, here are a few of the student's screencasts.  Enjoy!

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