Category: Art

ascii art

Keyboarding with ASCII Art

I’ve written about ASCII Art (click for ASCII Art directions) and use it as an integral part of my keyboarding curriculum. It’s a fun way for students to use keyboarding in a creative, unique way. The way I teach it, it doesn’t take long to complete, say thirty minutes for a complete drawing like these:


[gallery columns="4" ids="45862,45860,45859,45861"]


Girlfriend Curious to the Max Judy posting this article on Extreme ASCII. Paul Smith creates drawings that look like this:

[gallery columns="2" ids="45857,45858"]

Here’s the story:

What a great story for my students–and me!


writing kerpoof

Do You Miss Kerpoof? Try These 31 Alternatives

writing--with KPKerpoof closed down April 15, 2014. A staple in thousands of classrooms across the country, it is sorely missed by not just students, but teachers who relied upon it to guide students through writing, spelling, and a mixture and text and pictures to communicate ideas.

It’s pretty much a given that no one site could replace all the experiences Kerpoof provided, educators can cobble together a collection to satisfy the hole left by Kerpoof’s demise. Here are some ideas:

Mix Art and Text

  1. KidPix (fee-based)
  2. Paint (available through Windows)
  3. Tuxpaint (free software download)


  2. Graffiti Creator
  3. Sketchpad
  4. SumoPaint
  5. Tessellate



Book Review: Photoshop Elements 12

Photoshop Elements 12: The Missing ManualPhotoshop Elements 12: The Missing Manual

by Barbara Brundage

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

I love Photoshop CS, but my school will no longer support the cost of a license. At first, I refused to teach image editing, feeling like any program I used would be inferior to what I should be teaching. I continued with the decade-old CS (not the up-to-date CS 5). No problem with that. Students loved it, found it easy, extended learning to home–and that’s when the problem arose. They–of course–had to buy the upgrade and wondered why I was using such an old program.



Freebies #19: My Bookcover in KidPix

This year more than any before, classroom budgets have been cut making it more difficult than ever to equip the education of our children with quality teaching materials. I understand that. I teach K-8. Because of that, I’ve decided to give the lesson plans my publisher sells in the Technology Toolkit (110 Lesson Plans that I use in my classroom to integrate technology into core units of inquiry while insuring a fun, age-appropriate, developmentally-appropriate experience for students) for FREE. To be sure you don’t miss any of these:

…and start each week off with a fully-adaptable K-8 lesson that includes step-by-step directions as well as relevant ISTE national standards, tie-ins, extensions, troubleshooting and more. Eventually, you’ll get the entire Technology Toolkit book.

I love giving my material away for free. Thankfully, I have a publisher who supports that. If everyone did, we would reach true equity in international education.

My Bookcover in KidPix

Draw a cover for a classroom project or unit of inquiry or use one of Kidpix’s templates. Have students nicely mix text and pictures for an attractive design. Introduce KidPix fonts, font sizes, font colors to grade 1

[caption id="attachment_5424" align="aligncenter" width="577"]KidPix cover page Make a cover page in KidPix[/caption]

–from 55 Technology Projects for the Digital Classroom

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

5 FREE Web Tools for a New School Year

When you were a child, your parents worried that the educational content you were learning might be out of date. Did history include the most relevant theories? Did science have the latest discoveries (and was Pluto still a planet)? When you became a teacher, you probably thought one of your big responsibilities was to stay current in your subject. You’re right–but today, ‘current’ is as much about content as how the message is delivered.

And delivery more and more often is powered by technology.

But when you read about tech tools used in cutting edge schools, your stomach churns. Is there enough PD time in your life to teach you all the tech you need to know? What if you can’t learn it?

Truth, you don’t have to know all 2878 (and counting) tech tools being used around the country. You just need to know five. Learn them. Use them with students. Expect them to use them. When those are solid, pick five more.

Ready? Here are your first five:


tech q & a

Dear Otto: Use Tech to Differentiate Lessons?

tech questionsDear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

Here’s a great question I got from Ali:

I would love some information on differentiating tech lab lessons. I struggle with that the most in my lab.

I love tech for differentiating. There are so many software programs and online tools that speak to a student’s individual interests–Word (for writing-intensive), Publisher (for multimedia), PowerPoint (for multimedia), Voki (for video/audio), Big Huge Labs (for lots of choices). For 5th grade and up, I have a unit I co-teach with the grade-level teacher. I introduce students to about 18 online tools, then they pick one for a class project (whatever inquiry is going on in the classroom at the time). Here’s a link to my collection. You will want to those that suit your group. Favorites are Voki, Poll Daddy, Animoto, Photostory, a mind mapper. In all the years I’ve taught this unit, I am constantly amazed at student choices. those I would have predicted loved writing pick video tools, and vice versa.

Here are some more ideas for differentiating instruction in your classroom: