Friday, April 29, 2022
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
Hold the Presses!
This past weekend I found the COOLEST (yes, it's worth the all caps!) website to use for stop motion (and so much more) with students! I've written about stop motion in the past, and all that you can do with it. For iPads, my favorite app is the free version of Stop Motion Studio. It is very user friendly, and I continue to use it with our lower grades as they still use iPads. Many of our older grade students also prefer using Stop Motion Studio on their own tablets at home.
For Chromebooks, we've been using the Chrome App Stop Motion Animator. It is a great introduction to stop motion, and is super simple to use. But saving your work is a little clunky, and it is pretty basic (which for the most part, is really good when introducing the concept to students!)
If you're looking for something that can do just a tad bit more (or, really, a lot more) then check out Wick Editor. It. Is. SO. Much. Fun! The editor still appears to be in a bit of a beta mode, but is fully functional on so many levels. I love that it is simple enough for basic learning, but the accouterments with this tool are beyond!
I was beaming with pride watching these third graders Google questions that they couldn't figure out independently, as they taught each other how to change the frame rate and the background. They found the apps that can be added to the editor for surprisingly fun elements. As we wrapped, one group was working on coding a robot to dance.
All this after 20 minutes of exploration. Student led. I call this a WIN!
Friday, April 8, 2022
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
Every year, the Shark Tank unit is tweaked a bit, based on learnings from the previous year.
This year was no exception. And the tweaks skyrocketed the unit to the next level of awesomeness!
We continued to use Google Drawings as the platform for designing the required logo. The logo lesson itself has significantly evolved. We spend a good chunk of time looking at the why behind logos. For example, did you know that the Goodwill logo represents both the "g" for Goodwill, but also the smile that Goodwill puts on people's faces? Learning the lessons behind the logo design has deepened student understanding of not only how important logos are, but how important the design of a logo is, and the role it plays in a company.
In addition, because the kids have used Shapegrams multiple times throughout the years, the logos they designed reached a new level of creativity and detail. The thoughtfulness behind the logo design has added a whole new layer to this element!
Writing has been an integral part of Shark Tank as the pitch is key to landing a deal. In previous years, students published a magazine that contained articles by each product team, along with interviews of classmates and such. Students also interviewed teachers and staff members on their quest to find the perfect product or service to provide.
This year, the magazine said farewell and the door opened to website design! Students used Google Sites to showcase the Shark Tank experience. Working with the structure of the Design Thinking, their website included a page for each step of the process.
The website also included a page that defined the problem being solved, a prototype page that included images of the product being designed, each step of the way, and a page that went through the iteration from sketch to final. There is also a page for the pitch, where students chose to record a video of their pitch, or the written version.
Whatever way you slice it, the writing element required of the website ushered Shark Tank into a new era, and elevated the real-world application to the entire unit. Sixth graders designing and writing for websites? Creating logos, complete with backstory? Interview skills? Empathy and problem solving? Having to pitch an idea to judges?
The real-world application in this entire unit is one of the reasons the unit is incredibly memorable, long after kids have graduated!