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Three holidays are fast-approaching–Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. If you’re a teacher, that means lots of tie-ins to make school festive and relevant to students.
Here are ideas for Halloween projects, lesson plans, websites, and apps (check here for updated links):
Websites and Apps
- 30-day Halloween fitness challenge
- Build a Jack-o-lantern (in Google Slides)
- Carve-a-Pumpkin from Parents magazine – Resolute Digital, LLC (app)
- Enchanted Learning
- Halloween games, puzzles–clean, easy to understand website and few ads!
- Halloween Kahoot Games (video for teachers)
- Halloween Science
- Halloween Voice Transformer (app)
- Make A Zombie – Skunk Brothers GmbH (app)
- Meddybemps Spooky
- Pumpkin Patch Games
- The Kidz Page
- WordSearch Halloween – AFKSoft (app)
- ASCII Art–Computer Art for Everyone (a pumpkin–see inset)
- Lesson Plan: Halloween letter for grades 2-5
- Make a Holiday Card
- A Holiday Card
- A Holiday flier
Before teaching students Photoshop (or GIMP), acclimate them to photo editing with a program they are likely comfortable with: MS Word. For basic image editing, Word’s pallet of tools do a pretty good job (Note: Depending upon your version of Word, some of these tools may not be available; adapt to your version):
- Open a blank document in MS Word. Insert a picture with multiple focal points (see samples). (more…)
Before starting on Photoshop lessons for fifth grade and up, teach preparatory basics covered in this lesson plan here (reprinted in part below). If you have a newer version of Photoshop, adapt these instructions to yours:
Open Photoshop. Notice the tool bars at the top. These will change depending upon the tool you choose from the left side. These are the crux of Photoshop. We cover about ten of them in fifth grade. The right-hand tools are used independent of the left-hand tools. They are more project oriented.
- Click the File Browser tool (top right-ish). It shows you the folders on your computer. From here, you can select the picture you’d like to edit (or use File-open)
- Select a picture and notice how it displays all data—file name, size, date created, author, copyright and more
- Click on several tools on the left side and see how the top menu bar changes, offering different choices. Go to Help. Have students view several of the ‘How To’ wizards available. Make sure they try ‘How to paint and draw’, ‘How to print photos’, ‘How to save for other applications’. Then have them select the ‘Help’ files. This takes them to the Adobe CS website and exposes a vast database of questions and answers. Encourage them to explore, engage their critical thinking and active learning skills. Remind them this is where they can find answers independent of teacher assistance.
- Open a picture of the student’s choice. Show class how to zoom in and out (right-side toolbar). Explain pixels.
Show students how they can take the paint brush and color just one pixel if they are close enough. This is
how experts remove ‘red eye’ in photos.
- Introduce the History toolbar (right side) as an undo feature (like Ctrl+Z in Word). Have students open a new blank canvas and draw on it. Now use the history tool to toggle between the canvas before and after drawing on it by clicking between the original picture and the last action taken (at the bottom of the History list).
- Have students click through several tools on the left tool bar and show them how the top toolbar changes,
depending upon the tool selected.
- Watch the layers tools. You can only paint on the highlighted layer. Notice that the top layer covers all others
- Show students how to save. The default is as a Photoshop file with a .psd extension. This won’t open in other programs, so show students how to change the file type format to a .jpg, .bmp, .tif or other for use in Word, Publisher, emails or a website.
Once students are comfortable with the Photoshop format, try these easy-to-do auto-fixes.
Auto-fixes is one of the easiest Photoshop skills. Depending upon your version of Photoshop, this may be found in different spots on the menu lists. If you’re familiar with your program, you’ll find it right away:
In this lesson plan, students type several sentences in a word processing program like MS Word. Use the font color palette to label parts of speech, i.e., blue for subject, red for verb. Use sentences from a book they’re reading in class, spelling words they’re working on, or a teacher hand-out. This makes grammar fun.
I get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m taking a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are from members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, from tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.
Today: Lesson Plans
- STEM Lesson Plans
- Coding Lesson Plans
- By Grade Level
- 30 K-5 Common Core-aligned lessons
- 110 lesson plans–integrate tech into different grades, subjects, by difficulty level, and call out higher-order thinking skills.
- singles–for as low as $.99 each. Genius Hour, Google Apps, Khan Academy, Robotics, STEM, Coding, and more.
- Holiday projects–16 lesson plans themed to holidays and keep students in the spirit while learning new tools.
Who needs this
These are for the teacher who knows what they want to teach, but needs ideas on how to integrate tech. They are well-suited to classroom teachers as well as tech specialists.
When I first wrote this article seven years ago, remote teaching was something done on snow days, teaching from home short-changed student learning, and parents were too busy to get involved in their child’s education. So much has changed. Here’s an update on this popular post to reflect what my grad students tell me they now face.
Education today is characterized by rapid technological advancements, globalization, and changing workforce demands. As a result, traditional teaching methods may not prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of the post-High School world.
Key characteristics of teaching today include:
Tessellations are repetitive patterns of shapes that cover a surface without overlapping. With Excel (or another spreadsheet program), you can create tessellations by arranging shapes in a grid and using formulas and formatting options to make the patterns visually appealing. Here’s a step-by-step lesson plan to use Excel or another spreadsheet program to teach tessellations:
Here are great ideas from the Ask a Tech Teacher crew on how to keep tech fresh this summer.
3 Fun Ways to Use Tech in the Classroom in the Run-Up to Summer
Summer is right around the corner and as a teacher, you might be in search of creative ways to leverage technology to ensure your classroom remains an entertaining, engaging and educational space.
Fear not, we’ve got you covered! Buckle up and join us on this delightful journey through tech-savvy classrooms – from elementary school to high school – we’ll unlock a treasury of innovative ideas guaranteed to amuse the young minds while also preparing them for their future. Let’s dive in!