Sunday, June 23, 2019

Doodling, Zentangles® and Coloring

I've been a doodler most of my life. Hearts, flowers, trees, swirls and squiggles are my go-to doodles. It's something I unconsciously do when there is a pen in my hand and a piece of paper in front of me.
For me, it's about short, focused breaks throughout a meeting, a conference or when I need to process information.

It got me thinking. What fun digital tools are available?
On a quest to find some digital versions of doodling and coloring apps, I came across the following two . . .

Tayasui Doodle Book.  Doodle Book is a simple app that basically has a pencil, pen and eraser. You can try pro for an hour each time you open it. When you swipe to the left, you get different backgrounds . . . graph paper, dots, scallops, lines and several more.

I did happen to upgrade to the PRO version, which includes the watercolor paintbrush, colors and all the background patterns for just $1.99.
What I realized is when you finish the doodle, you can download to the camera roll, but then you need to erase it to start over.

If you are a fan of Zentangles®, Doodle Book App is great for a digital version. If you aren't familiar with a Zengtangle®, it is art in a non-representational and unplanned so you can focus on each stroke and not worry about the result. A Zentangle® consists of a series of repetitive strokes—straight lines, curves and dots—drawn on a three-and-a-half-inch square of paper.

The Doodle Book app has a background pattern that consist of dots or a blank page. Use the dots to create your border which will help contain your design, allowing it to emerge within the
My finished Zengtangle®.

Next up . . .
Tayasui Sketches ProSketches is the most realistic, versatile and user-friendly sketching app designed for a mobile device. 
Some of the great features of this great app:
  • over 20 tools
  • import photos 
  • watercolor brush
  • color mixer
  • add layers
  • and so many more. 

Guess what?! From June 13 to June 27, Sketches is available at a reduced price : $5.99 > $1.99

It's ok if you can't draw! Doodling for mindfulness is about about the journey  you take while creating your doodle. You can always Google doodles to get some ideas to get you started! Just doodle! If doodling is not your thing, try coloring!

Coloring has been known to reduce stress and anxiety. Just 5-10 minutes of coloring can provide the same benefits as meditation and help you practice mindfulness and encourage your creative side. When you need to hit the pause button, turn your attention to nothing but the present moment and don't want to carry around colored pencils, try Lake: Coloring Books .

I love their tagline . . . 
Forget the world around you. This is your time.

I'll be honest, there is a hefty price to subscribe. There is a yearly plan (starting at $59.99, billed once a year), a monthly plan (starting at $7.99, billed once a month) or a weekly plan (starting at $2.99, billed once a week). If this works for you, go for it!

However, there are plenty of FREE content to start with: daily drawings plus a free illustration with every coloring book. 
Great tools . . . 
  • 5 piece tool set: acrylic brush, watercolor brush, spray, fill, and an eraser. 
  • Tap-to-fill coloring option
  • Color inside the lines
  • Zoom in/out
  • Instantly save your drawings

For those of you that want to put colored pencil to paper, check out our fabulous art teacher, Kirsten Guerrero and the amazing coloring pages her students created!

Here is an excerpt from her blog post. Be sure to follow her at AHHSVisualArt.

What are some of your favorite tools for doodling and coloring?

Happy creating!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Blended Learning Tools - 4 Part Series

This is a four part series on digital tools for a Blended Learning environment.

First up, in this series, is InsertLearning.

InsertLearning is a Chrome extension that allows you to take a website and make it interactive!

Like many tech tools these days, InsertLearning is a freemium site. However, the free stuff is great!
You can add questions, videos, and discussions. I love the fact that you can push out the learning experience to students through Google Classroom!

Features . . . quick reference!

Draw students attention to particular vocabulary or phrase with the highlighting tool. 
(You can follow up with a questions or a discussion.)

Sticky Note
How fun is this? By inserting a sticky note, you can include an image, video, link or embed a code.
What if you added . . .

Even crazier . . .  add a personal message with insight, directions, or a word of encouragement.

Create a Question
Highlight a section and click the question mark. Up pops this box. At this point, you can add your own question or you can click on the "select a stem" for choices for question prompts. Multiple choice or open ended!

Add discussion questions that get students talking and connecting to the text . . . right there on the page.

What about pricing?

When designing work for students, start with your standards. Then, ask yourself if this tool lends itself to moving student learning forward.

Have fun with InsertLearning!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Formative Fun at Lunch!

This Friday, Formative will launch their virtual PD Summit!
Formative is an assessment tool where students can type, draw, or submit images to demonstrate their understanding.

Each day of the event, you'll be able to...
  • watch a brand new webinar led by a thought leader in education 
  • extend your learning by engaging in fun challenges 
  • earn a certificate of completion for PD credits 
  • win awesome prizes

Today, I hosted a kick-off to the #FormativeSummit, during our lunch period. A sweet treat and playing around with the features of Formative.

Time to spread the word and the power of GoFormative!

Below, you will find the presentation I shared with our teachers!
Sign up for the #FormativeSummit by clicking here.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Scientific Sketching & Paper by Fiftythree

I love the Twitter post by one of our teachers,  Mrs. Bell's Class  (@KayleeBell17) on how her students used the ABCDE method to record their scientific observations. (Check out a full description and lesson plan from the California Academy of Sciences.)

The simple mnemonic, ABCDE, reminds students to make sure their drawing clearly depicts what they are observing.

Science notebooks are a great way for students to capture their learning . . . drawing, graphing and writing about their learning.

Why not add a bit of novelty and have students draw their observations with the app, Paper by FiftythreePaper is free for iPhone and iPad. It allows you to create some amazing sketches
You can choose to save images as JPG or as PNG to the camera roll.

In the app, the tool tray has a variety of tools for drawing. My favorite is the watercolor brush.
Click here to see a full description of all the tools. 

To help students draw, have them try using a stylus. MEKO Stylus Pen 10 Pack Capacitive Stylus for  an iPad or iPhone is a great choice.  Great for control and accuracy.  They can be found on Amazon. This pack of 10 is only $6.99!

APP Smash Time!
Once, students have their sketches, have them upload them to one of the following applications. They can add their voice, icons, music and finally, turn their scientific sketches into an inspiring video. 

But, wait, there's more! 
Have student finish it off by adding it to Flipgrid or Seesaw to share!

Want more details? Click here for the Google Slide presentation.

Happy scientific sketching!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Launch Yourself into Space

I love an app that has so many possibilities, plus a learning piece.
NASA Selfies app, allows you to step into a virtual space suit and visit various outer space locations.
There are 30 different stunning backgrounds that are real photos of space captured by the Spitzer Space Telescope. It's not fancy, but when you add some app smashing, it takes it to the next level.

A few ideas for some app smashing fun!
Use the Balloon Stickies app to add a speech or thought bubble.
Using descriptive language, students can record their adventure, with ChatterPix Kids app.
Have students take multiple selfies and create a story with a beginning, middle and end. Pull them into Adobe Spark Video or Shadow Puppet EDU to tell the story. 
Or, start with Balloon Stickies, add to ChatterPix Kids and finish with Shadow Puppet EDU for a fun finished product. 

To start off a unit on space, have some fun letting students design a mission patch. You can use this as a way to start off your unit on space or just  a team building activity. 
Students can head to the history of mission patches to see authentic patches designed by various teams of astronauts. Some of the patches are commemorative, not worn by the crew. 
Google Draw and Canva are two great tools to use when designing a mission patch. 

Have fun in space!
Click here to access all the slides in Google.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Tech or Treat

It was a fun 2 days "Tech or Treating" with our secondary teachers! 

I'm fortunate to have a small professional development room next to my office. I took that room and added spooking lights, cobwebs, a BEwARe sign and a bunch of tech stations. Oh, and lots of treats!
I fashioned the two days like an open house. Come and go! A bunch of tech and a bunch of treats!

I wanted it to be a casual learning experience.  I set up stations highlighting different tech tools.  I created QR Codes that linked to student final products. The purpose was to highlight teachers and the different was they are integrating tech.
The nice part about the "tech or treating," it gave me the chance to have one-on-one conversations with teachers about how to integrate these tools with their content. 

A few of our teachers tech or treating!

What exactly were those tech tools? Here's my treat for you.
Click on the image to take you to the site.

This is my new favorite! (This tool is for 13+ however, you can view this Adobe Spark Edu Guide on how to use Adobe Spark with younger students.) 

We have a district Nearpod account, so we have access to the virtual tours and 3D experiences.

Super fun! Create comic like stories! Show what you know!

French class example!

This is great tool for group discussion questions or if you have that family dilemma . . . Where do we go for dinner?

Love this one!
Students add the text and the program brings in the images. Add a voice over and voila!
I chatted with out World Language teachers about having their students type in English and voice over in the language for their class.

Here is one I created explaining formative assessments!
Next up, such a fun tool to edit photos. I used this to edit the photos at the start of the blog.
Students can use this as an exit ticket. Take your picture, add text on your one big take away, add a few embellishments and share with the teacher!

Another great tool for an exit tickets!!!

 One of the choices, a fortune cookie! How fun is this?!
Enjoy the fun tech tools. Hope they will be a treat for your students.