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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tux Paint is the Best!

Tux Paint is the best painting program ever.  It is free, flexible, loud, incredibly fun, and most of all, it can make some pretty nice pictures.

Kids love using it.  The stamps offer a large variety of pictures, the drawing tools are very flexible, and the magic tools can add some great effects.  And the eraser!  I mean, all kids painting programs should have such an amazing loud and large eraser.

Use Tux Paint!  It is free!

The Grade 2's were using it today, and we saw some awesome pictures.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Getting Started with Scratch

I just out permission slips for Scratch today to the Grade 6 students that were interested.  Scratch is a programming language for kids that is visually based.  Putting together instructions is similar to stacking lego blocks, and when you are finished you can make small animations, or even games.

Giving characters instructions in Scratch is like stacking blocks.
All of the instructions are based on logic and math as well, making it an interesting activity for students.  You can read more about it:

Creating with Scratch

Learning with Scratch

Programming with Scratch

Friday, November 12, 2010

Grade 3 visits Lethbridge, Placentia, Lab City, and Fogo!

Using the wonderful Google Earth Mme. Daley's Grade 3 class took a quick tour of NL today, visiting some of the places they had studied in their textbook, taking time to visit St. John's, Lethbridge, Placentia, Labrador City, and Fogo Island.  They were able to see the preplanned layout of Lab City, as well as exactly how isolated Fogo can be.  Viewing the  images on the Google Earth gave students a look at what these communities look like in the present, and some other exciting images, like local churches, icebergs that look like seahorses and polar bears, and even some old military bunkers.

Grade 4, Google Earth Scavenger Hunts

Ms. White's and Mr. Yetmans Grade 4 classes took part in a Google Earth Scavenger Hunt today.  Using Google Earth the students started off their search at the school and had to follow direction leading them across the city, from the Hindu Temple, to the airport, to Georgetown, trying to answer different questions using embedded wikipedia links and images that have been addeed to Google Earth via Panaramio.  The lesson stressed using compass directions, reading the clues carefully, looking at images, and maneuvering through the program.  It was pretty fun, although it can be easy to get lost in St. John's, even virtually!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Make Belief Comix!, Grade 3

Ms. Piercey and Ms. Martin's class came to the lab to make some comics about a story they were reading in their language arts anthology. They were focusing on the 3 main parts of a story, the begining, the middle, and the end. The class used a website, Make Beliefs Comix! to make their comics.  It is a great site that allows students to make a simple 2,3, or 4 panel comic and add characters with different emotions.  Speech balloons and other props are easily added as well.  Very simple way to let children express their ideas without having to worry about manually drawing a comic and having it come out perfect.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Grade 5, Readinglogs.com and Storyjumper.com

This morning one of our Grade 5 classes came down to the lab for their second visit. Our first visit was spent setting up online reading blogs for the students in the class using www.readinglogs.com. It seemed to work pretty well, though there were several sections that were a bit confusing. First, having the students register themselves was slightly complicated. Not to the point of frustration, but some students weren't able to complete it interdependently. Then we tried to use their password generator for student accounts. However, instead of nice passwords, we got the sX68n9Mm kind, with uppercase and numbers. Made it somewhat complicated. After it was all said and done though, most of the students got all their information entered. Their follow-up visit (today) many of them had continued to enter their reading information at home, so it had been working out great. We did run into a small bit of trouble printing, but that was just because it defaulted to printing to a PDF first, which we did not need.

Our second activity was much more fun, using one of my favorite sites, www.storyjumper.com! Storyjumper lets you actually write a book on their site, illustrate it, and share it. The final product looks awesome online, and if desired, can actually be purchased as a hardcover book. The class spent their remaining time becoming familiar with the tools, and started stories of their very own. I saw a ballerina book, another about Godzilla and the Tiny Orange Bug, as well as one about a singing leprechaun that was busy meeting Santa Claus when the bell rang. As a testament to how enjoyable it was for the students to do their own writing and illustrations most of the students wanted to keep their log-in information so they could continue their stories at home! I certainly look forward to seeing their work.