Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Starting Kindergarten on the iPad

See more on Artsonia.

Where do I begin for my Kindergarten students?  This is the question I was asking myself when thinking about how to incorporate the iPad into my K curriculum.  I came across the app My Flake and decided it was a simple idea with excellent results so I'd start there.  Students had just finished drawing themselves on a snow day, so it fit with the idea and I could display them together.  The first day, I had students work on their snow day portraits and called ten students to the carpet to work since I have ten iPads (ten of which I'm very grateful for!).  I thought I could run it like a centers in their regular Kindergarten class.  I didn't like this set up, however.  I didn't like that I couldn't help students who were drawing and was stuck on the carpet.  The students at the carpet weren't helping each other because they were consumed with their own iPad and were very needy with me sitting right there.

Today was attempt two.  I decided each table (I have ten, conveniently) would get an iPad and they would just watch each other work.  I felt this worked better.  Students helped other students.  (Some have them at home, others do not, so they teach each other the basics like how to use the home button.  Which saves me time since I only have K once a week for 40 minutes!)  I was able to help all my students.  Everyone was focused on the same goal.  Students were excited to see their peers' results and gave one another positive feedback.  Kids and I were happier.
I used Skitch to write the
name on each snowflake.

As they finished their snowflakes, I took a screenshot of the snowflake and then I opened the photo in Skitch. I prepared the text box for each student and they typed their own name and saved it.  Extra keyboarding practice was a bonus!  I was very busy with this task and 23 kids, but as the class went on, students learned the process by watching and it went faster.  I cropped the snowflakes after class.  Each iPad uses the same Skitch/Evernote account, so I could crop them all on one iPad because they automatically sync together.

When I first choose this app, I was conflicted if it really went with my curriculum.  I'm not one for fluff or pretty things if students aren't making meaning.  Was it teaching them anything other than just how to use and share the iPads and a really cool app?  As they were working today, I realized they were using shapes and lines, and then turning those into a snowflake.  It put meaning to their random choices, gave them a chance to play, and started Kindergarten students on their journey of using iPads in the art room.

Friday, January 25, 2013

All in One for Digital Photography

Today fourth grade students rocked out a digital photography lesson!  I am very excited about the process and results.

We started our journey into pop art by painting simple drawings of presidents found on Crayola's website.  Students used three to four fluorescent paints. (I am really impressed with Crayola's Premier Tempera! I think the extra few dollars is worth it for the fluorescent colors.)  I'll publish the results of this project on artsonia soon!  We also did research about pop art and artists using the iPad.  I blogged about this earlier.

Students used Photoshop Express
to edit photographs.
With this foundation, we reviewed the meaning of pop art and I asked the students to think of popular images they saw just in our elementary school world.  We talk about logos that they see all the time, school celebrities, and specific items that are a part of their everyday life here at school.  I wanted them to find items that are not always considered art and to turn them into art. (I do want to say that the Mona Lisa photo is part of our world as a celebrity.  I use the "I say Mona... you say Lisa" at part of my classroom management. The students have to then strike the Mona Lisa pose, so she is quite the celebrity here! Curriculum is always about the students' world to help them make meaning!)  

I have ten iPads, so the students worked in groups and each group created one final piece.  I went through the process on the projection screen and then students worked from a packet listing step by step instructions with screenshots. You can see the step by step packet here.  Before starting we also talked about saturation, contrast, and really making our selected object the focus of our photograph.

What I loved the most about the iPad today was that the whole lesson used one piece of equipment.  No plugging camera's into a computer or buying photography software.  With the ease of doing everything on the  iPad, my students were able to complete this project in one 40 minute class period.  It amazed me!  

See more results on Artsonia
The photo booth I made.
iPads and recycle copy  paper boxes! Quite a contrast! 
Pop Art President

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Using the iPad to Answer "I'M FINISHED!"

    Do you ever have some students finished with a project and others still working?  I do! The last thing I want to do is get them ahead again on starting the next project.  At first, I was giving these students a chance to use some apps on the iPad.  I let the students use apps like Pottery HD Lite and Faces iMake, but then I noticed students rushing their projects to use the iPad, and were they really getting anything out of using these apps so casually?

     Students were finishing a Pop Art project this week and we didn't have a lot of class time to talk about all the many artists that encompass pop art.  How was I going to get this information to them and still make forward progress?  The iPad answers my dilemma once again!  On my website that I design with Weebly, I linked websites and videos of artists.  Students brought their own earbuds to class that day and were instructed to do Pop Art research!

     This solved many problems!  Students who were behind got caught up.  They have a chance to do the research on their own time if they choose because the material is all available on my website.  These students also didn't rush their projects to use the iPads.  Students using the iPad could share more easily than when they were using an app and were less distracting to the students finishing up their work.  I also felt like they were working on something that was adding to their learning experience, and not just buying time.  Overall, it was a productive day in art today for all my students!
Students found the link and videos on my website .