I have so neglected my blog this year. It is not because there is nothing going on in the computer lab. On the contrary, students are learning and doing amazing things this year thanks to the help of Symbaloo and great ideas from other bloggers like FreeTech4Teachers, iLearn Technology, and Engage Their Minds. The problem lies with me and my disconnect (I do not know a better way to describe it) with the written word. I have a mental block when it comes to taking my thoughts and transferring them to written language. It takes so much mental energy to complete a blog post about what we are doing in the lab, I procrastinate to the point that it seems untimely to write anything at all. I am making a confession here hoping someone who reads this blog can tell me a magical cure. I have been inspired by my co-worker and great friend, Pam Cranford, who is constantly posting on our White Oak Elementary blog and school Facebook page, and Terri Eichholz at Engage Their Minds, who blogs almost daily about the things going on in her classroom. As a matter of confession, I want to be those two ladies when I grow up! But for better or worse, here goes:
The past two weeks have been crazy in the computer lab because everyone’s schedule is out of sync. We have benchmark testing days, special reward days, early release days…you get the picture. During the month of December, we incorporate a Countdown to Christmas in our daily Morning Announcements. Last year, I created all of them using Keynote (inspired once again from what I learned from Pam Cranford) and Christmas images I found online or photographed myself. I screen captured the Keynote slide using JingPro last year. This year I am using SnagIt. This year, I decided to have my students who are in the computer lab during this time create them, and they are truly AMAZING! They create their own image or background using TuxPaint (a free download) and screen capture it. Our lab is equipped with MacBooks, so that part is easy for them. (Command, Shift, 4) They drag that image onto a blank slide. Then they create three textboxes, (1) number of days (2) the words “days until” (3) Christmas. They animate each one of the text boxes to create the countdown. I save it to a flashdrive where I load it to my computer, use SnagIt to screen capture playing the slideshow, and then import the created video into iMovie where the morning announcements are created. Embedded below is a tutorial the students use to learn the process. You can go to our Morning Announcement channel and watch any of the December videos to see their creations. The introduction and ending for the morning announcements was also created using Keynote.