Thursday, December 18, 2008

Where's Prancer?

First graders participated in a Polycom distance collaboration project with South Street Elementary in Vermilion, Ohio on December 11th called, "Where's Prancer?" This activity was posted on CAPSpace website by Heidi Boone.

To begin the activity, students read the book, "Where's Prancer?" by SYD Hoff in their classrooms. Then students took on the roll as Prancer. They created postcards letting Santa know where they where at. To create our postcards, students drew a picture in TuxPaint. I created a PowerPoint template for this project. The PowerPoint template was a slide that I divided in half. (The idea for using PowerPoint as a postcard came from Tammy Worcester.) I also added a stamp from After importing the TuxPaint picture in to our PowerPoint template, I helped students type a letter to Santa from Prancer.

Vermilion is located close to Lake Erie.

View Larger Map

Burrton and South Street Elementary Students met via Polycom to read their post cards and share their drawings with each others. It took about 30 minutes to share our postcards. It would have been fun to upload this presentation into Voicethread and have the students record the greeting on their postcards. However, we ran out of time. Our students begin Christmas Break at the end of today.

Where's Prancer?
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: christmas prancer)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What was Santa's First Job?

The Buffaloes (a.k.a second graders) were asked the question, "What was Santa's First Job?" Using TuxPaint and Photo Story 3 this is what we came up with!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Santa Letters

Here is a fun way to personalize letters to Santa.

My primary students (prek-3) started this lesson by drawing pictures in TuxPaint of what they would like to receive from Santa Claus for Christmas. For the younger students, prek-grade 2, I created a postcard template from Microsoft PowerPoint for the students to use. I divided the slide in half by using the line tool. If you would like specific instructions you might check out this book by Tammy Worcester, called 50 Quick and Easy Computer Activities.

I created the stamp by using to create a photo stamp. (Notice as I was typing this entry, that the direct link to the photo stamps was not working. Hopefully, that is only temporary.) Then I took a screen shot of the completed stamp and copied the image into the postcard. I used PowerPoint's crop tool to get rid of the extra stuff around the stamp, then saved the template for student use.

Tuxpaint imagines were inserted into the template. My aid and I helped the younger students type their letters to Santa. (Third grade students did all of this on their own. Second grade students typed the letter to Santa, but had help inserting the image into the template.)

I did combine all the postcards into one PowerPoint before printing. I printed the letters as handouts 2 per page and laminated each post card. Then I made a display in the hallway to hang the postcards. As student's leave for Christmas break, I will give them their Santa letter to take home to their parents as a keepsake.

I wanted to display our letters on my blog. I choose MagToo SlideShow and was really happy with the ease of this application. I saved the PowerPoint presentation in jpeg format. This made it easy to upload each Santa letter. I selected a style, skin and theme. This app was really uncluttered and easy to use. The user can even set the timing of the show and add music. It would be nice if MagToo would offer an education side where students might not be exposed to improper examples. They have a good product.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Twelve Days of Christmas

Third graders created their own version of the 12 Days of Christmas using Microsoft PowerPoint. Pictures were drawn in TuxPaint by the students and imported into the slides. Students were also asked to add slide transitions and custom animations to each of their slides. I unloaded a student's finished product to Slideshare and easily posted the presentation to Blogger.