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:
Here are the most-read posts for the month of September:
- Tech Ed Resources–K-12 Tech Curriculum
- Unconventional Research Sites to Inspire Students
- 21st Century Lesson Plan Updated
- 5 Tips to Bring Joy to Education
- ech Ed Resources for your Class–K-8 Keyboard Curriculum
- 9 Mistakes Teachers Make Using Tech in the Classroom
- Online Sites to Teach Mouse Skills
- ech Ed Resources for your Class–Digital Citizenship
- 8 Great Websites and Apps to Help Kids With Fractions
- Tech Ed Resources–Lesson Plans
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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 the most-read posts for the month of June:
- June is Internet Safety Month
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- What is a Growth Mindset?
- How to Clean Up Google Classroom for the Summer
- How to Teach Digital Citizenship in Kindergarten and 1st Grade
- When is Typing Faster Than Handwriting?
- Are you as Tech-Smart as a Fifth Grader?
- #3: Make Your Own Wallpaper
- The Supreme Court in America
- 13 Online Bridge Building Resources
Earlier this month,, we posted activities for a summer school student program. Now, we’ll focus on you–what do you want to accomplish with your summer? Here are popular AATT articles. Pick the ones that suit you:
Summer for me is nonstop reading — in an easy chair, under a tree, lying on the lawn, petting my dog. Nothing distracts me when I’m in the reading zone. What I do worry about is running out of books so this year, I spent the last few months stalking efriends to find out what they recommend to kickstart the upcoming school year. And it paid off. I got a list of books that promise to help teachers do their job better, faster, and more effectively but there are too many.
If you want more than those in the “6 Must-reads for This Summer”, this is the list from an earlier year.
Summer has a reputation for being nonstop relaxation, never-ending play, and a time when students stay as far from “learning” as they can get. For educators, those long empty weeks result in a phenomenon known as “Summer Slide” — where students start the next academic year behind where they ended the last.
This doesn’t have to happen. Think about what students don’t like about school. Often, it revolves around repetitive schedules, assigned grades, and/or being forced to take subjects they don’t enjoy. In summer, we can meet students where they want to learn with topics they like by offering a menu of ungraded activities that are self-paced, exciting, energizing, and nothing like school learning. We talk about life-long learners (see my article on life-long learners). This summer, model it by offering educational activities students will choose over watching TV, playing video games, or whatever else they fall into when there’s nothing to do.
Summer is a great time to reset your personal pedagogy to an education-friendly mindset and catch up on what’s been changing in the ed world while you were teaching
eight ten hours a day. My Twitter friends gave me great suggestions, but first:
A comment on the selections: I did get more suggestions than I could possibly list so I avoided books that involved politics or hot-button subjects that teachers are divided on and focused on positive and uplifting reading. Yes, there is a lot wrong with education around the world but I wanted a selection of books that would send me — and you — back to teaching in the fall with a can-do attitude for how to accomplish miracles with your next class of students.
Having said that, here’s a granular list of teacher-approved books to keep you busy this summer:
by Eric C. Sheninger
Digital Leadership defines a strategic mindset and set of behaviors that leverage resources to create a meaningful, transparent, and engaging school culture. It takes into account recent changes such as connectivity, open-source technology, mobile devices, and personalization of learning to dramatically shift how schools have been run for over a century.
by Clayton M. Christensen
Selected as one of Business Week’s Best Books on Innovation in 2008, Disrupting Class remains a worthy read. It is filled with fascinating case studies, scientific findings, and insights into how managed innovation can unleash education. Disrupting Class will open your eyes to new possibilities and evolve your thinking. For more detail, read my review, Disrupting Class.
Here are the most-read posts for the month of May:
- School and Job Tips for Young Adults
- The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Education
- Tech Teacher Appreciation Week
- Teacher-Authors: What’s Happening on my Writer’s Blog
- Tech Tips to End the School Year
- Summer Reading Online
- How to Keep Learning Fresh Over the Summer
- 5 Surprising Ways Homeschoolers Use Canva for Learning and Fun
- 33 Online Research Resources
- 7–no 10–OK, 13 Skills I Teach With Blogging
Teachers have known for decades that ‘summer learning loss’ is a reality. Studies vary on how much knowledge students lose during the summer months–some say up to two months of reading and math skills–and results are heavily-dependent upon demographics, but the loss is real.
To prevent this, teachers try approaches such as summer book reports, but students complain they intrude on their summer time. When teachers make it optional, many don’t participate. The disconnect they’re seeing is that students consider these activities as ‘school’ rather than ‘life’. They haven’t bought into the reality that they are life-long learners, that learning is not something to be turned on in the schoolhouse and off on the play yard.
This summer, show students how learning is fun, worthy, and part of their world whether they’re at a friend’s house or the water park. Here are nineteen suggestions students will enjoy:
- Youngers: Take a picture of making change at the store. Share it in a teacher-provided summer activity folder (this should be quick to use, maybe through Google Drive if students have access to that). Kids will love having a valid reason to use Mom’s smartphone camera.
- Any age: Take a picture of tessellations found in nature (like a beehive or a pineapple). Kids will be amazed at how many they find and will enjoy using the camera phone. Once kids have collected several, upload them to a drawing or photo program where they can record audio notes over the picture and share with friends.
- Any age: Pit your math and technology skills against your child’s in an online math-based car race game like Grand Prix Multiplication. They’ll know more about using the program and will probably win–even if you do the math faster. You might even have siblings compete.
- Grades 2-5: Set up a summer lemonade stand. Kids learn to measure ingredients, make change, listen to potential customers, and problem-solve. If you can’t put one up on your street, use a virtual lemonade stand.
- Any age: If your child wants to go somewhere, have them find the location, the best route, participation details, and other relevant information. Use free online resources like Google Maps and learn skills that will be relevant to class field trips they’ll take next year.