Bedley Bros. #EdChat Ep. 3 – Artist to Classroom Network



In episode three, Tim interviews Scott about a super cool way to get some quality art instruction into your elementary classroom.


Show links:

Christina Song Art Blog

Susan Cain – The Power of Introverts

 

 

iPads and Google Drive for Collaborative Writing Instruction



In this 2-minute video, I show how I am currently using Google Drive with my 4th/5th grade class to enhance my writing instruction. My learning environment is BYOD with iPads. I set up an account through Google Apps for Education. I gave each student an account (and one for me.) The students work in groups with a shared document. They also share the document with me. This allows me to monitor each group’s progress right from my iPad. We use the Google Drive App on our iPads.

16 Tips for Clean Slide Presentations

By Tim Bedley


One AWFUL slide!
One AWFUL slide!

 

I have been assigning slide presentations to my elementary students for many years. I found myself repeating the same critiques to group after group. Now, I don’t leave “PowerPoint” style to chance. Here are a few of the tips I give my students.

 

 

Text Tips

  1. Use VERY small amount of text. A few words that give the main idea for each slide is good. The big NO-NO: Reading your slides to your audience.
  2. Choose one font style for the main points and one for the sub-points. Use these styles throughout your entire presentation. This includes font name, color, and size.
  3. Be careful with overlap. Text that is barely touching a photo is awkward. Text that sits right next to the edge of the slide is awkward.
  4. Dark text on light background or light text on dark background. Contrast! Make it POP!
  5. No bullet points. Duplicate your slides and put your sub-points on separate slides.

Graphics Tips

  1. Try to fill your slide with one large image.
  2. Faces are better. We all like to see closeups of the human face.
  3. Be careful not to distort your pictures. Grab the photo in the corner, not the edge, to change the size.
  4. Be careful with image size. If you use a small image and resize it to make it large, the image gets very blurry.
  5. Photos are better than clipart. Better yet, make your own pictures by taking photos or drawing pictures.
  6. Cite your source. Always give credit for the images you use.

Overall Design Tips

  1. Avoid using templates. They are cheesy and show little creativity.
  2. Avoid slide transitions. You want your audience focused on the slides, not the switching between slides. NO transition is wonderful!
  3. Simple! Keep your slides clutter free. A nice big clear picture with 3 words to focus the audience is great!
  4. Avoid creating a “The End” slide. If you have a conclusion, great. Otherwise, just make a main topic slide as your last slide. Don’t make a slide that says, “Thanks for watching,” or something similar.
  5. Advanced Tip: Use the rule of thirds. Draw a tic-tac-toe board on your slide. Place items where the lines cross. It’s a bit more complicated than this, but the main thing: try to avoid centering things on the slide.

Note: These tips definitely limit creativity, but my purpose is to teach my students to first create a good clean slide show. Once that is accomplished, then I encourage the students to break the rules…with purpose. It’s similar to learning a new instrument. We first need to learn our scales and copy the masters. Later, we develop our own style and can artfully break the rules.

Screencast Instructional Video: 12 PowerPoint Tips for Kids

Watch here if you are blocked from YouTube

Adding Text to Your QR Codes

By Tim Bedley


PhotoString App well worth 99 cents.
PhotoString App well worth 99 cents.

 

If you’re like me, you love creating QR codes but find it very frustrating to keep track of them because all your QR codes look basically the same. One solution is to use the iPad app PhotoString. The app is designed for making photo montages with text, but I’m using it to label my QR codes. Of course, sometimes you want your QR codes to remain a mystery before they are scanned, but when you don’t, here’s how to label them.

Steps to Create and Label a QR Code

  1. Create the QR code using an app like QRafter or http://goqr.me/ website.
  2. Save the QR code to your photo roll.
  3. Open PhotoString and choose the icon at the bottom that shows one picture with text below.
  4. Import your QR code.
  5. Resize to fit in the window.
  6. Identify the QR code by writing a caption below the code.
  7. Export the finished product back to your photo roll.

Now you can have several QR codes stored on your iPad or computer and actually be able to identify them.

Example of QR Code with caption created using PhotoString
Example of QR Code with caption created using PhotoString

Using video to build schema

By Tim Bedley


Screen Shot 2013-01-03 at 6.52.31 PMMany of today’s students lack the life experience to truly comprehend what they read. Schema is the background knowledge a reader applies to understanding literature. In order to build schema, teachers and parents may want to use videos as the next-best-thing to a real-life experience.

I have organized a list of schema-building videos on my class website to accompany most of the stories from our basal reading book. With so much available on YouTube, a quick search can normally result in a plethora of options to help children build schema.

APP-athy

By Tim Bedley

 

What is APP-athy? The point where you just can’t stand the thought of adding one more app to your iPad. There are now over a quarter million iPad apps. It’s impossible to keep up with them all. How many drawing apps do I need? Where did I save that picture of the kids? iCloud? Dropbox? Google Drive? Ugh.

It’s important to stay on top of the latest and greatest; however, there comes a point where the cost of change is not worth the upgrade. There are lesson plans to write, new children’s literature to read, and naps to be taken. Think about how many apps you’ve downloaded that you’ve used only once, or perhaps never at all.

Don’t sweat it. It’s ok that there are new educational apps that you’ve never heard of. If that new app is worth using, it will appear on a top 10 list in the days to come.

What is a quality math game?

By Tim Bedley


What makes a quality educational math game for kids?
A perfect blend of strategy and skills.
Almost every kids’ online math game involves one or the other, but rarely both. Normally, math games involve the player solving a math problem and, if they get the answer correct, they get to play a game.
I make a distinction between a game that makes you smarter and a game that teaches you math.

Angry Birds definitely can improve critical thinking skills along with other brain functions, but does it teach you to solve an actual math problem? Not really.
Sudoku helps the player to learn deductive reasoning. It’s a great thinking game. It involves numbers, but doesn’t teach any actual math that will help a child in school.
Now don’t take me wrong. I think that thinking games are awesome and I encourage my students to play FlowLittle Alchemy, and several other great strategy games. There’s just something beautiful when a game-maker comes up with a strategy game that actually teaches kids math vocabulary or math skills. Calculation Nation is a math game website produced by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM.) All the games (with the exception of Slamball) teach basic math skills while engaging the player in addictive strategy. For example, Times Square requires the player to constantly do multiplication facts in his/her head. Players must also keep track of offensive and defensive moves to obtain 4 in a row.

Another math game website to check out is GregTangMath.com. Greg has developed some excellent thinking games that kids love. My favorite game is Kakooma.

Another aspect of math games that I desire for my kids is the ability to play another real live kid. This makes the game much more exciting. Calculation Nation offers this option.
What are your favorite digital math games?