Sunday, 12 February 2017

Who is Melvin Bubble - Templates to make a student version - Great End of Term Writing Project

The Book, "Who is Melvin Bubble" by Nick Bruel is such a fun book to read to your students, and is a great template for having them write their own version of the book.

The book template 
Below I have a link to a Google Docs version of a template document that I use with my students. After you have read the book together they will be able to fill in the book with their own information, humour and creativity,
Tap here for a open the storybook template

Learning how to draw yourself as a cartoon
I have also included a copy of the presentation I put together to help students learn how draw themselves as a Melvin Bubble style cartoon. I found the best way to use this was to email the link to the slides to the whole class and then have them go through it by themselves when they get up to the illustration stage.

If you find this useful and get some good results I would love if you could share them with me on twitter mentioning @Shaunyk@shaunyk

Tap here for a open the storybook template

Friday, 10 February 2017

Flat Stanley Aventure Story

A short time ago I posted about creating Choose Your Own Adventure stories using Google Slides, you can view that here. It is such a simple project, but one that is so engaging and fun for students.

After introducing this to some of my colleagues, one teacher asked if we could do the same style of writing for a Flat Stanley project he was completing, if you haven't heard about it you can find out more information here: Flat Stanley Official Project information

We followed the same template as we had before for a choose your own adventure, except this time we themed it for the Flat Stanley Project. Below is a copy of the planning Popplet I created for my own story, and the final version of my Flat Stanley story. You may notice in the planning document that I kept the numbers in each planning bubble the same as the slide number that information is on in the slide deck. This is important as it helps students when they are linking their files.

This was a great project, and a different way for our students to teach someone else about our home of Singapore.

Send out a template file to your class
 Click this link to make a copy of the template file I send out to students. Clicking on this link will create a copy of the document. You can copy and paste this link if you want to share it directly with your students.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The ABC's of Anything - Handy book template for any classroom

I was recently working with a class that was making ABC books, and decided to try and pimp out a Google Slide deck for the job. I'm really happy with the results, particularly the hyperlinked letters around the edge so you can jump to any letter, and the design overall.

Uses for this slide deck could include:

  • Unit summaries for any subject
  • Classroom guidelines
  • Character analysis for literature
  • Second language instruction or with English as a second language learners.
  • Make a classroom book where each person is responsible for one letter

Choose Your Own Adventure stories - How to engage reluctant writers (Pick a path)

I remember reading Choose Your Own Adventure books a lot as a child, in particular the "Your Very Own Robot". I'm sure I read through that book 20-30 times, choosing a different path each time. For that reason I have always liked the idea of giving my students the chance to create their own Choose Your Own Adventure stories using hyperlinks.

Using Google Slides on the iPad or Browser
There are a few ways to do this, but the best way I have found is using Google Slides. It's simple, free and platform agnostic.

Below is an example of a story I wrote myself. The last 3 slides have the planning documents that I use with the students.

Send out a template file to your class
 Click this link to make a copy of the template file I send out to students. Clicking on this link will create a copy of the document. You can copy and paste this link if you want to share it directly with your students.

Planning - The most important step!
Planning out how the story flows is very important when you do this for the first time. I use Popplet with the students, but you could simply use a piece of paper. If you look at the image below I number each step so that it is the same as the slide number in the presentation slide deck. It's important that students can see how the story flows and which step links to the next.

Adding the links on the iPad

Adding links in a browser
Once you have highlighted the text, right click and then click on link. In the link pop up you can choose "Slides from this presentation instead" and click on the slide you want to link to.

Another reason that I like this option for creating choose your own adventure stories is that Google Slides embed very nicely into student blogs, and as I mentioned at the start, are platform agnostic so you can read them on any device.

Using hyperlinks is an important skill for students to understand and this project is a great way to teach students how to use them and gives them some starting ideas on how they can be used.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Getting started with Stop Motion on the iPad

Stop motion is one of the most rewarding and fun creative outlets the iPad provides. There are super simple apps to use and the effects are great. I personally use Stop Motion HD from Cat Eater, here is a link to download it.

Stop motion is a great way to get students to visualise their learning, as well as engaging them in a creative and challenging activity.

Check out my video below which gives you some ideas about how to get started with Stop Motion.

Monday, 16 May 2016

The fastest way to write your reports - Use a spreadsheet to write your reports

When I was in the classroom report time was not my favorite time of year. I could never think of the words to get started, and it was all a little overwhelming.

At the same time I have always been fascinated with spreadsheets, and so put these two together and over the last few years I have come up with this spreadsheet that basically writes reports for you based on a comment bank that you set up yourself.

This new version puts the student name and gender pronouns using a basic code (### for their name, and #his/her etc for the pronouns.

Here is a direct link to the spreadsheet, and embedded here is a short video that will tell you how to use the spreadsheet.

If you have any questions you can find me on Twitter @shaunyk or leave a comment on this post.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Making the ultimate WANTED poster using Google Slides.

Recently as part of a social studies unit we had class I was asked to help create "Wanted" posters. Given our students have used Googles Slides for many projects this year we decided to create the posters using this tool. As a point of difference we used a custom slide size so that we could create portrait posters. A link to this template is here, as well as on the last page of the slideshow below. (It will prompt you to make a copy)

It was a great lesson and resulted in some terrific outcomes. I also gave students the option to use iPad apps such as "Over" or "PicCollage", but most of them ended up using Slides.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Create a Simple Digital Portfolio using this Google Slides Template

Student led conference can be a stressful time trying to get student work together in one place, providing a structure for presenting the work as well as making it look reasonable. That's why I set up this very simple Google Slides template. These are the main advantages that I see for using a system like this:
  • Works on all platforms (iPad, Mac, PC)
  • All the work can be embedded or linked into the slides
  • The slides are easily embedded in Blogger or a Google Site
  • It provides a clear and simple structure for students to follow when sharing with parents
  • It's a one stop shop, managing text, images and videos.
If you'd like your own copy of the template click here.

Leave a comment if you think I've forgotten something or for any advice you have.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Helpful tips for embedding documents in Blogger - Docs, Slides, PDFs

Embedding documents into Blogger is not always completely straightforward, particularly when you want to embed a PDF, so I made a set of 5 videos to help out with this very issue. From embedding Google Docs & Slides, to PDFs. I also made a couple of videos to explain how to adjust the  width and header of your blog.

Check out the embedded playlist to see the videos.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Make Things Move Magically with Reverse Video

Students love video effects on the iPad, and this one is a great effect to make it look like you can magically move things with your thoughts. It is super simple and uses the free app "Reverse Vid" following is a very short video which explains to students how to do this on their iPad.

If you make one it would be great if you could link a copy to it in the comments below.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Bringing the fun back to school

With an increasing focus on data, and pure academic achievement, fun is often pushed aside to get through more material. I’m personally concerned that many people overlook the amazing levels of engagement that come along with fun, and the opportunities to teach students almost without them knowing they’re learning. And more than this, when learning is fun, it becomes intrinsic.

Following is a recording of a speech I gave recently in Manila outlining my thoughts on the importance of fun at school.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Publishing Books Using Google Slides

There are many ways to publish digitally, and recently I have been looking for a method that uses common tools students are familiar with, is easy to embed in a blog, and looks great. The solution that I settled on…

Google Slides

There’s nothing too revolutionary about using slides to publish books, however it is good to remember some of the great advantages it has, and think about some new options you may not have considered.

Great advantages:
Easy layout - No problems with wrapping
Hyperlinking the contents page is easy
You can edit on the iPad (embedding from the iPad is a problem)
Adding captions, or creating labelled diagrams is quite easy.

Other Options - Create Portrait Books
To make a portrait book in slides, it’s as simple as finding “Page Setup” section in the file menu. Using the custom size option, you can put in the measurements for an A4 page for instance (21cm x 30cm).

Use animated Gif images
There are lots of bad examples of Gifs online, equally balanced with amazing examples as well. In fact it is possible to use a free iOS app like “PicPlayPost” to make your own animated Gifs from videos on your camera roll. These can then be put in student books and will play automatically when embedded in their blog.

Below are examples of books that I have published using this method, as well as links that will create copies of these presentations if you want to use them for your own purposes.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

iPad Bootcamp Presentation

The iPad summit at ISKL has been a great event. Following is a copy of the presentation I used during my iPad bootcamp, it could be helpful if you're running training or would just like some tips yourself.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Make a free iPad stand using only cardboard - great for Stop Motion

Having a stable iPad stand is one of the most important tools you need for making Stop Motion videos, and is also super handy for lots of other occasions. Here is a super quick video which will show you how to make your own iPad stand using only cardboard, and a couple of minutes of your time.

This is a great activity as a beginner maker space project with kids.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Making the cheapest & easiest DIY iPad Stylus

I've been using drawing apps with my kids at school recently, and wanted to give them the chance to draw with a stylus rather than their fingers. I ended up making a super cheap and easy Stylus for the iPad using just a pencil and some foil. It was really that simple, all you need to keep in mind is that the stylus needs to stay pretty vertical, as the iPad is designed to have a nearly 1 cm contact patch, hence the end of a pencil is perfect.

It's a simple idea for classroom use if you're using drawing apps, as it's super cheap and easy. I hope it works well for you too.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Getting started with Scratch Jr on the iPad

Recently MIT released Scratch Jr for the iPad, which is a great platform to introduce younger students to the ideas behind Scratch, which is widely used in upper elementary and middle school for game creation and so much more.

For the week of Code, I am using Scratch Jr in our lower elementary classes and created this presentation that you can use in your classroom to get started with the program.

Here are some links to presentations that will help get you started:

Teacher presentation to introduce Scratch Jr

Video presentation that you can simply play for students

Here are the challenge sheets that I used with the kids

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Sharing Student Made iBooks from the iPad

Using apps like Book Creator is a great way to get kids creating their own content, but it is not always easy to share these home to parents.

To help out with this I am sharing the method I use with my classes, incorporating Google Drive and a simple link sent home to parents. The following two videos go through the steps for a teacher to set up the process, and the second tells parents what they need to do when they receive the link in their email.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Starting out with Digital Citizenship in the early years

As we come back to school and start out with our respective technology programs, a very important part of that program is to ensure that we cover digital citizenship.

My school has a 1:1 iPad program from 1st grade onwards, so our first lessons with the students are really focused on that digital citizenship piece. To start out we keep it very simple, but stress the importance of some simple rules that will help keep students safe online, our equipment in one piece and forms the basis of our acceptable use agreement.

Below are the 5 simple rules that we have adopted in first and second grade with all classes. It's a simple set of rules, but has enough flexibility to cover almost any situation that may come up in class. This poster was originally by Kelli Buxton in my team and has been well received by teachers and students alike. 

We have put a copy of this poster on the cupboard or trolley where the iPads are stored so it can be referred to if necessary.


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Adding multiple events to Google Calendar using a spreadsheet

Adding individual events to a Google Calendar can be annoying and time consuming. But there's a super easy way!

Using a simple spreadsheet in the form of a CSV file you can upload as many events at one time into any of the calendars that you manage. 

There is one big warning! Be careful when you set it up as there are only two ways to delete the events you put in, either delete the whole calendar or delete the events one at a time. In that regard I'd advise adding a new calendar to house all of your new events, or at least test the file in a temporary "Test Calendar".

Click here to download a copy of the CSV file

These are the basic instructions, there is also a step by step YouTube instruction video below.
  1. create a spreadsheet with the correct headers (as per example)
  2. export as a .csv file
  3. Go into calendar and click on the arrow next to My Calendars and click on Settings
  4. at the end of the list of your own calendars, click on 'Import Calendar'
  5. Choose the .csv file you created and choose the calendar it goes into and 'Import'

There is a second video at the bottom of this post that shows you how to set up the spreadsheet to accommodate multi day timetables (like a 6 day cycle) that don't stick to the days of the week. 

Hopefully this will save you quite a lot of time!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Awesome Fast Report Starter Spreadsheet!

It's that time of year again when teachers need to write reports. When I was in the classroom I always had trouble getting started, so I created the "Awesome Fast Report Starter Spreadsheet"

It uses just a few basic functions to compile together, the Vlookup function which searches for information in another table based on a value existing, Concatenate which joins text together, and Substitute which swaps out the wildcard ### for the student's name.

This is a great way to get started on your reports, and a practical way to use spreadsheets to get started with your reports. As a disclaimer putting in high, medium and low comments is not the end of my report writing. Once I have my spreadsheet start I then go and edit the prepared comment, adding personal examples, next steps, pronouns and other individual feedback.

If you find this useful I'd love to hear back from you either on this blog or via twitter where you can find me @shaunyk .