Sunday, January 26, 2014

Snowballs, embroidery hoops and the app, Faces iMake

Blizzard conditions, low of -19 degrees tomorrow morning, school closed tomorrow, likely late or closed on Tuesday, our crazy winter continues.  Perfect conditions for another winter related post.  Snowballs by Lois Ehlert is a favorite winter read for preschool teachers.  In this post, I share a few extension activities.

A traditional follow up activity to the book is an art project where children use various materials to create a collage of a snow creature similar to the book.  I loved displaying these creations, each one so unique and reflecting each student's ideas and personality.  I wanted to extend this activity by using loose parts that can be arranged and rearranged at a center. During a family gathering, my nephews and neice scoured the kitchen, junk drawer, art cabinet, toy box and yard for materials, added a few embroidery hoops and white paper, then went to work.  Different sizes of hoops were used so size concepts were discussed.  Following the theme of the book, the kids created snow moms, snow dads, snow babies and snow animals.  We took pictures of each creation and planned to create a digital book, retelling the story, but we didn't get that done.  It was acutally nice out so we went outside and played in the snow instead!

The second extension involves a "go to App" on my iPad, Faces iMake.  It is a great creative outlet and is a perfect match for the Snowballs theme.  Kids can create snow people and snow animals using a variety of vocabulary building props available on the app.  The app can be customized by using the camera option.  Pictures can be imported from the camera roll or taken with the camera.  Using a pencil eraser, the object can be cropped from the background and used in the collage. It is easy to resize and rotate objects, and objects can be locked and moved to the front or back.  Once again, the children can take pictures of their creations to share with others.  I enjoyed the video tutorials available on the app as well.  This app offers great features for the price and promotes creativity and vocabulary building.  For those of you in my region, stay warm, stay safe and think Spring!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Mitten matching on Explain Everything

People in Minnesota are using the term “stupid cold” to describe the weather we will be experiencing over the next 2 days.  Tomorrow’s forecast is a high of -18 degrees, low of -28 degrees, with wind chills of 50 below zero.  Our state will experience over 60 hours of below zero temperatures.  On Friday, the Governor closed schools statewide for Monday.  It is cold.  I thought it would be appropriate to put together a post about a mitten matching activity I created using Explain Everything.  My previous post on using Explain Everything for story retelling gives more details about how to use the app. 

When I had a classroom, I offered a mitten matching activity using a clothesline, clothespins and children’s mittens.  It was great fine motor practice.  I usually had some students who struggled with the fine motor aspect of using a clothespin, so I adapted the clothespins, had an alternative  clothesline with velcro, and sometimes had the student match the mittens by pairing them on the table or floor rather than hang them.  This iPad activity would be yet another alternative for accessing this type of activity.  A fun variation of this activity would be to take pictures of your students' mittens and use those as the matching items. 

This video was created using the app Explain Everything and gives a brief overview of how I created the activity.  

I drew the clothesline using the writing tool.  I found the images on Google and saved the images to my camera roll.  I pulled the images into the slide and used the lasso cropping tool to crop the images out of the background.  I locked the clothesline and the mittens hanging on the line.  I locked the scale of the the mittens that will be manipulated by the students.  The locking function is activated by tapping square with an i on the left hand side, then tapping the object.  Everyone stay warm and stay safe. 

Tapping the information icon brings up this menu which includes the lock function.