Learning about Scratch Basics

Sarah and Rachel recorded this fourteen minute Cinchcast with me today discussing their initial experiences learning how to create with Scratch software from MIT. They discussed learning how to move Sprites, about costumes, loops, coordinate geometry basics, and more. Download Scratch for free from scratch.mit.edu.

Scratch resources from my Fall 2010 undergraduate course, “Computers in the Classroom,” are available on wiki.powerfulingredients.com/Home/cic/resources/scratch.

Scratch Hero

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Rachel, Sarah and Alexander Reflect on Creativity in our Oklahoma Schools

The 2010 Creativity World Forum is coming to Oklahoma City in two weeks. In advance of the event, Creative Oklahoma is sponsoring a Creativity Contest for Students, who are challenged to:

… show us your creative ideas for improving communities, schools and businesses so that Oklahoma remains a creative frontier. We invite all forms of creativity including, but not limited to, essay, video, photography, drawing, or mixed media.

Here are our entries!

Rachel, 1st Grade (Age 7) – The Importance of Art Class at School and Creativity

Sarah, 5th grade (Age 10) – Laptops, Creativity, and Trusting Students

Alexander, 7th grade (Age 12) – Legos, Creativity, and Schools

This was Rachel’s first take, which we are NOT submitting to the contest.

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Announcing a new web show: The Zebra Print!

This summer Sarah and Rachel wanted to start their own iCarly-style webshow, and decided to name it, “The Zebra Print.” I helped them register the domain name (www.thezebraprint.com) and get the site launched. We created a YouTube channel for the show as well as a Twitter account. Sarah selected the WordPress blog theme and made sidebar customizations, I helped her add a ClustrMap and add Feedburner chicklets. We published the first episode in June, but busy schedules have prevented us from publishing the rest. We still need to publish episode #3, which was recorded in Washington DC at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. For now, however, there’s three episodes for you to watch. It’s going to be exciting to see the girls develop their on-camera communication skills. (Some of us certainly have an apparent flair for the dramatic.) Enjoy!

the Zebra print

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Rachel buys her first iTunes Audiobooks

Rachel has seen her siblings listen to audiobooks on their iPods, so this week she decided she’d like to have some of her own – particularly in light of our upcoming road trip to Kansas in a few weeks. Last night we searched the iTunes Store together to explore what was available that might be of interest, and she found a Dr Seuss compilation of nine books along with Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” which she thought would be great.

Dr Seuss Audiobooks on iTunes

Where The Wild Things Are

Since she just had $9, I agreed to split the cost of the books which totaled $13. This provided a good opportunity for her to learn how to divide by two, in a practical context. This evening at dinner she took 13 sugar packets at our restaurant and separated them into two groups, eventually figuring out she had to tear one in half. In this way she figured out we both needed to contribute $6.50 toward the purchase. This evening before bed she made her purchases with my help, and then recorded a five and a half minute podcast discussing her experiences with Audiobook purchases on iTunes. Lots of great learning together tonight!

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One Rice Thousand Gold: A Remixed Story by Rachel

This is a story Rachel (age 6) typed tonight all by herself on our family netbook. We printed it on our home printer, and then she read it aloud. I recorded her oral reading using the iPadio application on my iPhone, which created this embeddable audio version. Rachel based her story on the Starfall.com Chinese fable, “One Rice Thousand Gold.”

one rise tawsin gold by rachel

one day a little gill wuz waking past the woter fool

tin sheye sol a pot of gold

sheye ran to it but a old womin said one rise tawsin gold

so sheye gave hr a rise and sheye gave hr tawsins of gold

look look look wut i fawn

yes mom yes i did rimier wut i said

non of that yes mom

so i chradide the gold for food yum yum sheye said

wun sheye was waking dawn the shtrete a min said i will give
you food if you gave me some gold

ok so i gave him some gold

i stopt for a momit and said tis is not rite i spinet my manee oh no

i made a bad chose oh wut am i going to do?

i no i will do one rise tawsin gold so i wint war i sol hr and sheye wuz gon

sheye dide

oh no i said hr stuff is still heir i can gist git it so i did it

Remembering “Go Green, Go Electric” from Earth Day 2009

Last year on Earth Day for the Film on the Fly digital storytelling contest, my kids and I created the three minute and fifty second video, “Go Green, Go Electric!” My son (who was 11 at the time) did some the editing for this video using iMovie, and I did the rest. In following the rules for “Film on the Fly,” we shot all the video for this movie using a cell phone. Since we wanted different people in different scenes (and my son couldn’t legally drive the car) we alternated being the videographer and being actors in the movie.

We actually won first place in the contest. This Flashlight comparison and was a lot of fun to create together, and certainly got us thinking more about the viability of electric car technology. When you want to cut your electricity bills, you should study Energyadviceline dobusiness electricty prices comparison so that you are aware of the electricity service charges of different companies on your area.

If you’re considering purchasing a Ram truck then be sure to schedule a test drive with a local Ram dealer near you today. Thanks to Miles Electric Vehicles of Tulsa, Oklahoma for helping us with this video!

Do you have a favorite student-created video focused on Earth Day and “going green?” If so, please share the link!

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The Night Before Valentine’s Day by Rachel

The Night Before Valentine’s Day” is a four page book my six year old wrote today. She is REALLY into writing, and I want to encourage her as an author / illustrator as much as possible. After she shared this with us tonight, we snapped four pictures of the pages using my iPhone, uploaded those photos directly to Flickr using PixelPipe, organized the images into a Flickr set, and then created the VoiceThread together. In all, this production process took about ten minutes. Has it ever been easier for a kindergartner to share their original art and writing with the world?!

It’s fun to see the way she has been influenced by other books we’ve read together, like “The Night Before Christmas.” I love how VoiceThread automatically inserts the linked title of each image when you insert them directly from Flickr!

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Cleaning up Mom’s iPhone Apps

Alexander and I spent some time this afternoon “cleaning up” the shared iPhone and iPod Touch applications we have installed on our family iTunes account. One of the biggest jobs was reducing the number of applications on mom’s iPhone. She is not very interested in games and mainly uses her iPhone for phone calls, texting, and the calendar. We removed about 40 applications from her iPhone tonight.

"Cleaning up" Mom's iPhone apps

We were able to get her down to just three screens, which is a big simplification and improvement over what she had previously. One disadvantage of using the same iTunes account for two iPhones and an iPod Touch is that whenever someone installs a new application and syncs back to the computer, the next time others sync that application is installed by default on their device. So, unless you “uncheck” applications which are not wanted, you end up getting lots of additional applications when others in the family are adding them to their mobile device.

Mom's iPhone - Screen 1

Most of the apps on this second page are actually for our 6 year old, Rachel. The first two programs, Brushes and Sketchbook, are drawing programs we just bought for her today using an iTunes gift card Santa brought in her stocking.

Mom's iPhone - Screen 2

Mom's iPhone - Screen 3

I’ve updated our full list of now “pruned” iPhone and iPod Touch applications this evening. (We got this list down to 164 tonight.) Getting mom down to just 48 apps is pretty good!

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Signing the Declaration of Indepandence

In my social studies class we got to sign the Declaration of Indepandence! You get to pick what type of writing you want. You can choose Colonist,American or Patriot. You can choose black and white or color. It will give some background info. too. Also you will need a printer for this activity. I think this will get the students involved in history and it is a very cool activity to do in class.

Here is the address for this site.

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