We just made the cutest book reviews in first grade. Mrs. Huelskoetter, the librarian, Mrs. Dixon, the first grade teacher, and I worked together on this project. Here's a link to the book review lesson plan. We used the Do Ink Green Screen app to create the videos. It was so easy to use, I think the older kids (grades 3+) can probably make them on their own. You don't need an elaborate setup, just a small green screen is enough (the app can get rid of any solid background color, not just green).
Here are some reasons students should create book reviews:
The Do Ink Green Screen app is so easy to use, I can hardly wait to adapt this lesson to other curriculum areas. For example, students can talk about a planet for science with a backdrop of their planet or they can talk about a food group with a backdrop of the proper department at the grocery store. It could be a lot of fun to use for foreign language projects too. The possibilities are endless!
Yesterday was a beautiful Spring day and I decided to take a break and walk to the National Gallery of Art. I almost always go to the West building where the classical artwork is located, but this day I decided I was in the mood for some modern art and went to the East building. I decided to throw caution to the wind and explore without a map. I went up a level and couldn't find any exhibits, so I went up another level and still no exhibits. Finally I returned to the guest services desk on the first floor. A nice woman asked if I needed help and I embarrassingly explained that I couldn't find the exhibits. She said "That's because we took them all down. We're getting ready to renovate the building." I had to laugh. Well, it's good to know that I still have a keen sense of observation.
So I spent the afternoon in the West building. While I was walking around, I decided to take a photo of a piece I really liked. When I looked on my camera roll and saw that the photo was angled from perspective, it reminded me I had a new app which I had downloaded called "Microsoft Office Lens". The article I had read said Office Lens would analyze the image and put them in perfect perspective for you. So I took another photo and was pleasantly amazed with the results. Take a look for yourself:
Later I walked into a gallery with George Seurat paintings and remembered I wanted to use some of his paintings with the kids when we talked about "pixels". The "pointillist" movement where paintings are made up entirely of dots is an excellent way to illustrate the concept of pixels. Here are a few photos I took at the museum:
If you're interested in using this concept with your students, you should check out the Google Art Project where they have ultra high resolution photos of major works of art. The site enables you to zoom in and see every brush stroke. Here's a link to George Seurat's famous "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte". Don't forget to zoom in and take a close look at the dots.
Have you had a chance to look at the NGA Kids Art Zone? It's a fabulous site with interactives that offer an entertaining and informative introduction to art and art history. Featuring a variety of art-making tools that encourage exploration and creativity, these computer-based activities are suitable for all ages. I know I enjoy it as an adult. There's also a free NGAKids app that you can download. I can't wait to use it with the first grade.
I've decided to try blogging. The old Home Page is now renamed Interesting Stuff.