Sync Music Playlists – collapsing all

When I sync my iTunes playlists with my iPad or iPhone, the playlists are – by default – all expanded.

Collapsing these, all scrolling to the bottom can be quite frustrating and time consuming.

However…

Clicking with Ctrl + Down Arrow on any of the expand / collapse triangles will collapse all the playlists.

ctrl down

Brilliant!

The Three Billy Goats Gruff: Shadow Puppets

The Three Billy Goats Gruff story lends itself marvelously for drama explorations. With only two characters ‘on-stage’ at any one time it’s also ideal for small-group puppetry. This download is a set of character silhouettes that are ideal for use as shadow puppets. Just cut the shapes out, glue on sticks and away you go. Students could also make additional scenery (eg. the entire valley) to expand the basic lesson setup.

Resource Sheet:

Download The Three Billy Goats Gruff: Shadow Puppets

The Three Billy Goats Gruff:  Preview

The Three Billy Goats Gruff: Preview

Additional resources:

You can find more lesson plans here:

You can find scripts here:

Videos are here:

 

 

Silent Movies, Musicless Videos & Bad Lip Reading

My current middle school performing arts unit is on Film Sound and traditionally students demonstrate their knowledge of Foley sound by recording a short video and adding sound effects to it.

This year we’ve utilised the rich diversity that is youtube and made use of the many silent movies, musicless videos and bad-lip reading videos available.

PS. Please watch the sample videos below before using with your students.

Silent Movies

There’s any number of silent-movie era films on youtube. The Charlie Chaplain films are particularly useful with clear, well-defined action and readily followed plots.

My students practised their Foley skills by creating sound effects live as the video played on a laptop. The video and sounds were recorded for playback on an iPod. A little crude but quick and surprisingly effective.

Musicless Music Videos

It’s easier to explain this new mashed up genre by watching one. But for a short explanation:

  1. Select a music video.
  2. Remove the music soundtrack.
  3. Add sound effects as appropriate.

 

 

Bad Lip-Reading

Similar to the Musicless Music Videos, but with dialogue rather than sound effects:

  1. Select a short scene from a film, sports training video or TV show.
  2. Remove the soundtrack.
  3. Re-dub the dialog with words and phrases that match the lip movements of the actors, but which are funnier.

All three activities have proved popular with the students and all provide an excellent  framework i which to practice or demonstrate skills.

Australian Curriculum Links

Media Arts Year 7-8

  • Develop and refine media production skills to shape the technical and symbolic elements of images, sounds and text for a specific purpose and meaning
  • Plan, structure and design media artworks that engage audiences

Media Arts Years 9-10

  •  Experiment with ideas and stories that manipulate media conventions and genres to construct new and alternative points of view through images, sounds and text
  • Develop and refine media production skills to integrate and shape the technical and symbolic elements in images, sounds and text for a specific purpose, meaning and style

 

Lego Moviemaker App Manual

Lego Movie ApI’ve been using the Lego Movie Maker app with our students for a while now.

The app is free (yipee!) and although it’s a bit clunky in places it’s proven a real hit with children from ages 6-14.

If you do any stop motion animation on the iPad or iPhone give it a go. And feel free to download the manual I put together for our school.

Lego Moviemaker Manual download

 

Daisy the Dinosaur: Programming for (Lower) Primaries

Daisy Dinosaur IconWhat it is: an iPad app for introducing programming concepts.
Who it’s for: F-2 students (or older students with no programming background)
Australian Curriculum link:  “Follow, describe and represent a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve simple problems.” (ACTDIP004)


 

This little (and free) introduction-to-programming app has lots going for it.
  • It’s aimed at absolute beginners.
  • You can play in free-play mode or challenge mode.
  • If students can read the words ‘move’, ‘turn’ or ‘grow’ they can program.

Getting started

  1. Download from the app store onto your iPad.
  2. Jump into Challenge Mode.
  3. Complete the first challenge; use the ‘move’ command to make Daisy move across the screen to hit the star.
  4. Well done! You’ve made your first program!

July 08, 2014 at 0621PM

Next steps

There are only a few challenges but they do introduce sequencing and the use of a ‘repeat’ command. July 08, 2014 at 0621PM(1) Back in free-play mode you have just seven (blue) commands to play with; limiting but not overwhelming.

  • Move: select forward or backward.
  • Turn
  • Grow
  • Shrink
  • Jump
  • Roll
  •  Spin

There are are also two pink commands:

  • Repeat 5
  • When

You can drag blue commands onto the pink ‘repeat 5’ command and it … repeats that command 5 times. Drag blue commands onto the pink ‘when’ command and they will only be executed when Daisy is tapped or the iPad is shaken. daisy3

And…

That’s about it. You can’t save, add sprites, backgrounds or anything else. But it is easy to get into for JP students and a little imagination will soon have Daisy gyrating across the grassy stage. Brilliant! Link Daisy the Dinosaur on the App Store Link Daisy the Dinosaur programming tutorial   iPad Apps: Daisy the Dino from LondonCLC on Vimeo.

Year 2 Technology: The Three Pigs

The Three Pigs is a wonderfully rich starting point for a technology and design unit. Students can investigate house plans, material strength, hinges and how they work, cooking utensils, wolf-trap making and lots more!

Here’s the unit sheet for the Year 2 topic I taught, complete with simple rubric and parental explanation.

orange-download Technology Plan: The Three Pigs (Word docx)

Three Pig technology plan.

Tripline

My first attempts at creating an animated visual of a journey (some 15 years ago) were laborious and frustrating and involved taking multiple screenshots of a small plane graphic as I moved it across a blurry background map.

Now you can purchase dedicated map-journey software such as PriMap or use freebie (yay!) online tools such as Map My Trip or Tripomatic.

My favourite though was the easy-as to use Tripline.

The web interface is easy to navigate, and creating an animated map is straightforward:

  1. Create an account. (Facebook login is an option)
  2. Create a new map.
  3. Add waypoints and locations. (Click on the map, search by name or add by decimal point latitude / longitude)
  4. Add descriptions and photographs. (The photo upload is VERY well implemented)
  5. Share your map. (I’ve added Tripline to our school website and Facebook page).

The completed project is slick, thoughtfully designed and presented and a easy for the casual user to use.

Classroom use

I’d highly recommend this online resource for classroom use. With the only downside being the registration requirements, Triplien could easily find a place in Geography and History lessons mapping out migration patterns, historic journeys or imaginary trips. The diary interface also suggests use in literacy lessons, whilst the ability to export distances suggests use in numeracy work.

Resources

You probably won’t need much hand-holding, but there are some excellent resources available:

You can also download a Tripline app for the iPad but the functionality – particularly the animated map – appears to be missing at this time.

Sample trip

pics2phone

As much as I love my iPad (and I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Windows PC person) the lack of ease in transferring photos to applications is frustrating, to say the least.

The issue this time was iDoceo, a brilliant marks book / electronic portfolio / lesson planner which I’ve been using for a while.

I had all my  students’ photos on my PC. I’d used the export function in Picasa to resize them and thought I’d save them on a SD Card then import them via the iPad camera kit.

No. You can’t do that, as the camera kit only works for photos created by the camera.

Okay, upload them in DropBox and …

No. Well, yes, but then I’d have to import them one-by-one from Dropbox into the photo roll. So no.

Sync via iTunes? Not a solution I want to use on a regular basis.

So?

pics2phone

I ended up buying pics2phone.

It’s an iPhone app, and it has one of the ugliest (but simplest) interfaces you’ll find.

To use it:

  1. Create a folder called pics2phone in your Dropbox root folder. (pics2phone may / may not create this for you.)
  2. Copy folders of photos into the pics2phone folder.
  3. Start up pics2phone on your iphone / ipad.
  4. Tap the ‘Download Photos Now’ button.
  5. pics2phone scans the folder in Dropbox. If it finds new photos it uploads them into your Photos app, with each  sub-folder becoming a new album.

That’s it. Photos go into Dropbox, pics2phone imports them into albums.

It’s simple, it’s reliable, it works (and yes, IT is ugly)

pics2phone icon

pics2phone icon

pics2phone_screenshot

 

Google Alerts

Google Alerts are “email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries”.

This is a very handy service if you have specific topics you like being kept up to date with.

Here’s the Google Alert form at www.google.com.au/alerts

Google Alert form

Google Alert form

Setting it up

There’s a few options:

  • Search query: Complete with your topic of choice. Be specific here, otherwise you may be overwhelmed!
  • Result type: Are you after News? Blogs? Videos? Discussions? Books? You can also choose Everything to be sure!
  • How often: Choose from “As it happens’, ‘Once a day’ or ‘Once a week’
  • How many: Two choices here – ‘Only the best results  or ‘All results’
  • Deliver to: Your email address.

In practice

I’m currently writing a musical based on Rapa Nui (or Easter Island).

Here’s the alert I set up and a sample of the responses I received.

Google Alert form example

 

Google Alert form example

I’ve found the system excellent. Just two days in, I received an alert about the final stages of an expedition that paddled a traditional outrigger around the Polynesian ‘triangle’ of New Zealand / Hawaii / Easter Island. Then I received an alert on an update to 360Cities with panoramic walk rounds of the Rano Raraku quarry where the stone heads were carved. Two very useful stories within one week!