Get Qurious: Interactive and Digital Play Kit

Get Qurious: Interactive and Digital Play Kit

 

 

What it is: Get Qurious is a company who’s goal is to keep kids curious, creative, and expressive by combining technology and play. The Get Qurious Maker Box is packed full of interactive play opportunities. In this box, the story of the Three Little Pigs comes to life in ways like never before with interactive games, puzzles, and activities that encourage creativity and discovery. Students can scan physical play pieces with the Get Qurious app and the play pieces come magically to life. In the box students will find story cards, masks, a puzzle, and a sticker book. Each piece comes to life when scanned in the app. The story cards help students sequence the story, and bring the story of the 3 Little Pigs into animated life. When students put on the masks, they become part of the story through augmented reality, students can tap the microphone button to record themselves as they re-inact the story. The puzzle building activity lets students build their own house. The pieces of the puzzle can be scanned to bring the house to life in 3D. The reusable stickers in the sticker book let kids create their own version of the Three Little Pigs.

How to integrate Get Qurious Maker Box into the classroom: The Get Qurious set brings the story of the Three Little Pigs alive in new and fun ways. I particularly like the way students are encouraged to think about story sequence, how they can remix the story to highlight a different point of view and characters, and the way they can become part of the story. This set is a wonderful way to bring the joy of reading to life. Students can interact with the familiar story as a center activity, or as a take-home kit. If you teach in the primary classroom, Get Qurious could be a great kit to send home with students throughout the year. A lot of times, parents may not have time to, or simply don’t, read with their children at home. The Get Qurious kit is engaging enough that you won’t have to “convince” your students to go home and read. The kit encourages exploration and discovery and combined with the app, leads students through the familiar story in new ways. For your struggling or reluctant readers, the Get Qurious app really shines because it offers immediate reading support as they scan story cards in the app. Students can record their reaction to the story, or expand on the story to tell it from a different point of view. They can also practice re-mixing the story using the re-usable sticker book and app.

Tips:

While I love the intent behind Get Qurious, a few cautions: 1) It is called the Get Qurious Maker Box. The name is a bit of a misnomer, it definitely isn’t what you think of when you think of the Maker Movement. While it does blend technology and play, I wouldn’t call it a Maker Box. If you are looking for resources for your Maker Space, this isn’t it. This kit is better billed as a blended learning play kit.¬† 2) The recommended ages are 4-9 years old. I think it appeals more to the 3-7 age range. This is best for prek through second grade classes.

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Get Qurious was generous enough to send me a kit to explore for this blog post. Thanks Get Qurious!

Adobe Spark: Easily create and share videos, images, and newsletters

Adobe Spark: Create videos, images, and newsletters in a snap!

 

Adobe Spark: Easily create videos, images, and newsletters in a snap!

What it is: Adobe Spark is a collection of fantastic (free!) creative tools available online or as an app download.

  • Create social graphics that are stunning and easy to share (you know the kind: flyers, memes, posters, ads). The example above took under 2min to create and share! ūüôā
  • Make beautiful web stories for event recaps, newsletters, photo journals, portfolios, etc.
  • Produce and share impressive videos for storytelling, projects, or to share to social media.

If you (or your students) are feeling a lack of creativity, there is even a bank of inspiration that will get you started! This is particularly helpful for your students who struggle with a place to start but are brilliant with a little nudge. Whether you begin with inspiration or not, you’ll be feeling an extra burst of creativity in no time.

How to integrate Adobe Spark in the classroom: The collection of tools in Adobe Spark are perfect for students and teachers alike. Students can use these tools to create book reviews, to document science experiments, for storytelling, to explain their inquiry process, as an eportfolio, to illustrate math concepts, and so much more! These tools will help your students take their learning and present it in a way that is both visually powerful, and easy to share.

Teachers, you can use Adobe Spark to create a weekly newsletter (SO easy to share home with parents!), create photo journals of class events or field trips, to create writing and thinking prompts to share with students, quotes, presentations, and announcements. The photo journal would be a great way to give families a glimpse into your classroom, if you’re like me, your phone is FULL of pictures at the end of each week! If you have a class social media channel on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube- Adobe Spark is about to take it to the next level of awesomeness!

I love the way that Adobe Spark has made digital storytelling that much easier to create and share. This is a site that you’ll want to bookmark for easy access, and put on all of your students devices if you have a one-to-one environment.

Tips: If you have laptops, the web version of Adobe Spark is best, otherwise download the app!

Pixel Press Floors: draw a video game on paper, snap a picture and play it!

 

What it is: Pixel Press Floors is a seriously magical (currently free) app that brings a child’s imagination to life. With the Pixel Press Floors creation platform, students can literally dream up and draw their own video game without any coding. Students draw their ideas out on paper, and the Floors app turns the drawing into an actual video game that can be played. Print out the special paper so that the app can recognize the shapes “glyphs” that are drawn, or use the in app drawing tools. The drawing is instantly turned into a game that can be tested, designed, played, and even published to the “Arcade” where others can play it.

How to integrate Pixel Press Floors into learning: The first step of creation is to download the Pixel Press Floors app on the iPad. Next, go to projectpixelpress.com to download and print the free sketch guide. Students draw up the game of their dreams and then take a picture of what they drew from the Pixel Press Floors app.

The glyphs (shapes) that students draw are magically transformed into game play objects. After glyphs have been created, students can apply a design to the element, test it, and play it. Within the app, students can create games with:

  • Run and jump game play (Mario-style)
  • Create with 14 creator glyphs: terrain, moving blocks, ladders, portals, monkey bars, power-ups, coins, super coins, falling blocks, spikes, exploding blocks, start and end positions, pits and fireballs, keys.
  • Two original themes to get the creativity jump-started: “Save the Parents” and “Fiddleheads: Stones of Eden”
  • Publishing and sharing in the Arcade

Pixel Press Floors is a fantastic “maker space” element to add to your classroom. This app is perfect for prototyping ideas, design thinking (ideation and prototyping), teamwork and collaboration, and to build creativity. In designing games, students learn systems thinking, creative problem solving, art and aesthetics, writing and storytelling, and creates a motivation for further STEM exploration.

There is so much to learn from digital games.  As a player, students learn to think strategically, persist through failure and experience epic wins that can translate to what they do and are willing to try out in real life. As a designer students learn systems thinking, creative problem solving, digital art and aesthetics, and storytelling and writing. Students love being able to bring their creations and ideas to life in the form of a game. Video game creation could be the key to unlocking the storytelling genius in your reluctant writers. It has been my experience that a student faced with a blank paper and a writing assignment can be daunting. Introduce the idea of designing their own game and suddenly a storyline pours forth. It is pretty neat to watch!

Draw your own video games- no coding necessary! Draw your own video games- no coding necessary! Draw your own video games- no coding necessary! Draw your own video games- no coding necessary!

Students can create games that help them build skills. Instead of simply playing those drill/skill games on other websites/apps, they can create their own! This is visual notes 3.0. Instead of simply practicing math facts, students can create a customized game to help them learn and remember those facts! This type of game is perfect for creating games to practice: math facts, spelling, vocabulary, foreign languages, letter recognition, geography, history facts, etc.

Instead of passively playing games in their free time, students can create their own! The blend of the hand-drawn and technology is seamless and brilliant. Kids will have such fun creating their own games and bringing their imagination to life.

Tips: Game Star Mechanic would be an outstanding place to start, here kids can learn the thinking process behind designing their own video games.

Are you using Pixel Press Floors in your classroom? Leave a comment below and share the ways that you use it with students!

Rodan + Fields Consultant

Story Math: Storytelling and Math

What it is:¬†Story Math is a portion of the Hey Math! website. ¬†Story Math is a collection of 3 activities that use storytelling to present math in a new way. ¬†Students take part in the interactive stories to discover math in new ways, help them learn new math vocabulary and understand concepts more completely. ¬†There are currently three story activities available on Story Math: Mystery on the Block (students join the Premium Private Investigators and discover that geometry holds the key to the mystery of the missing kittens); The Perfect Arrangement (where students are introduced to permutations and how one clever lady uses math to subdue some squabbling scholars); and A Suitable Partner (where students engage in river-crossing puzzles to help Cammue pass the King’s test and marry Bindu).

How to integrate Story Math into the classroom: Storytelling is powerful!  I believe that we are all wired for story. We yearn for it, it helps us to connect with the world around us.  Story Math takes the power of storytelling and applies it to math.  Through story, students see math concepts unfold and discover connections between math concept and math application.  In addition to the story, Story Math includes games and activities where students can practice putting the math they have learned to the test.

Story Math makes a great introduction into new math concepts.  Story Math can be used whole-class with an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  Students can take turns reading (mute it for this option because the text is read automatically).  The story can be paused along the bottom while students discuss the stories and the math in the stories.  Each story invites interaction, provide students with an opportunity to interact with the story.  After the story, discuss what math connections were made.  How can they be applied?  What new vocabulary was learned?  Follow up with the games/activities on classroom computers as a center activity, or again as a whole class on the interactive whiteboard.

Want to do one better?  Show your students Story Math, ask them to explore each of the stories and make notes about the math concept introduced, the vocabulary and the story.  Then have students take a math concept that they are learning, and ask them to create a story of their own.  The first thing they should do is decide on the math concept they want to teach and the vocabulary that is associated.  Next, they should create a storyboard of what will happen in their story.  Finally, they can create the story animation using a tool like GoAnimate, Kerpoof Movie, Zimmer Twins or an app like Sock Puppets or ToonTastic.

Tips: The stories on Story Math take a few minutes to load. They are flash based and require a little patience for the first load.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Story Math in your classroom.

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Gamestar Mechanic: Teaching game design in the classroom

What it is: I just love when I get lost in a bunny trail of links…you know the kind, you go hunting for something specific and click on something that looks interesting which leads you to a browser of 25 tabs open.¬† I had one of these serendipitous link moments today that lead me to Gamestar Mechanic.¬† Gamestar Mechanic is both a game and an online community that teaches kids how to design their own digital games.¬† In designing games, students learn systems thinking, creative problem solving, art and aesthetics, writing and storytelling, and creates a motivation for further STEM exploration.¬† The free version of Gamestar Mechanic is available with unlimited use for teachers who want to use it with their students.¬† This account option comes with 1 teacher login and 40 student logins.¬† A premium account offers some additional classroom goodies including: class management, the ability for students to incorporate their own custom artwork, live professional training webinars, tools for tracking student activity and assessing progress, the option of having a “walled” school community, and more.
As a teacher you will find sample lessons for using Gamestar Mechanic, an introductory step-by-step guide, and a full learning guide.  Teachers can even play a short quest to learn more about how to use Gamestar Mechanic in the classroom to teach core subjects.

How to integrate Gamestar Mechanic into the classroom:  There is so much to learn from digital games.  As a player, students learn to think strategically, persist through failure and experience epic wins that can translate to what they do and are willing to try out in real life.  As a designer students learn systems thinking, creative problem solving, digital art and aesthetics, and storytelling and writing.  Students love being able to bring their creations and ideas to life in the form of a game.  Gamestar Mechanic could be the key to unlocking the storytelling genius in your reluctant writers.  It has been my experience that a student faced with a blank paper and a writing assignment can be daunting.  Introduce the idea of designing their own game and suddenly a storyline pours forth.  It is pretty neat to watch!
Gamestar Mechanic makes it easy for all teachers to incorporate game design into the classroom and weave it into the core subjects being taught.¬† You don’t have to be a tech-superstar, just create an account, read through the getting started guide and enlist the help of a student who’s passion is game design.¬† This type of designing and thinking is wonderful because it lays the ground work for so much other STEM thinking.¬† It nicely blends disciplines and helps students recognize the overlap in the learning that they do.
Students can each create a game of their own in a lab setting where every student has a computer.¬† If you are limited on your computer options for students, create a game as a class using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.¬† Students can create games that incorporate other learning or research they are doing to help teach future classes or younger students.¬† At Anastasis, we have Crave Classes.¬† These are classes that the student gets to choose based on personal passions.¬† In the one or two computer classroom, give your students time for a Crave class where they work on Gamestar Mechanic.¬† Other students can follow their areas of passion…almost in a center type of a set up.
Tips:  There are a variety of pricing and package options for classrooms.  If your students are really enjoying the game design process, it might be worth taking a look at the premium options available.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Gamestar Mechanic in  your classroom!

Picture a Story: Digital Storytelling

What it is: As I mentioned a few days ago, I am starting a virtual classroom/club for digital storytelling.  I have been on the lookout for great resources, I listed my favorites here, and now I am remembering a lot of tools I left off of my original list (like Toon Doo!).  Today as I was going through my Google Reader, I learned about this gem from Richard Byrne’s Free Tech for Teachers.  The Delaware Art Museum has provided a great website dedicated to storytelling.  The tagline is “bringing visual art to life through stories”.  On the site, students can picture a story, experience a story, or tell a story.  The Picture a Story was the most intriguing portion for me, as it provides a great tool for telling a digital story.  First, students choose a genre of story that they want to tell, next they choose a famous painting background for their story, students add characters (also from famous works of art), props, and then tell the story.  In the tell the story section, students type out the story.  If a microphone is available, students can even record the story in their own voice.  When students have completed their story, it can be shared via email.

How to integrate Picture a Story into your curriculum: Stories are powerful.  I love the way that Picture a Story weaves together famous works of art with story.  It teaches students to reflect on the art that they encounter and think about the stories that it represents. Picture a Story is a great way to discuss genre, characters, and parts of a story.  It is also a fantastic way to bring a little art history into your classroom.  It would be a neat class experiment to have students choose all the same genre, background, characters, and props and, without talking to others, write their story.  After students are finished they can share their stories with the class.  Students will learn about perspective, creativity, and voice as they listen to all the different stories that originated from the same picture.  If you don’t have access to a computer lab, this activity could be done with an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer and students writing on paper.  Let your students experiment with story and share their finished pieces with each other.  Picture a story is ideal in a lab setting where each student has access to their own computer.  If that isn’t a possibility, you could also have students visit Picture a Story on classroom computers as a storytelling center.  The site is quick to navigate through and students can tell a story in a sentence or a few paragraphs making it a good center.  If students don’t have access to email or can’t email the finished product to you, have them take a screenshot of the story to save in a digital portfolio or to print out.

Tips: The teacher section of this site has some great lesson ideas for every grade level.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Picture a Story in your classroom!

Mrs. P’s Magic Library

 

What it is: I heard about this wonderful website from Larry Ferlazzo on his blog last week and have been exploring it ever since.¬† Mrs. P’s Magic Library is a free website for kids that celebrates reading and books.¬† Mrs. P is the librarian at the Magic Library, she brings story time to life with video stories and read-alongs.¬† Her library also features fun animated games and lots of crazy characters that students will love.¬†¬† When students enter this virtual library they will have access to Mrs. P reading them a story, fun interactive games, and videos (lots more to explore!!).¬† The whole idea behind the library is to introduce students to great literature read to them in classic story-time style (not just listening to an audio book).¬† This virtual library is about as close as you can get to the real thing!¬† Your students will love Mrs. P.

 

How to integrate Mrs. P’s Magic Library into the classroom:¬†¬†¬† Mrs. P’s Magic Library is an outstanding addition to any classroom.¬† Use Mrs. P.com as a place to begin silent reading one day a week.¬† Use a projector and speakers so that Mrs. P can read to your class before they begin their silent reading time.¬† Mrs. P’s excellent storytelling abilities will have even your reluctant readers eager to read.¬† Tell parents about Mrs. P so that students can enjoy the virtual library from school or home.¬† Mrs. P’s Magic Library makes a great reading/ listening center and the options to read along or listen make it ideal for any students ability level.

 

Tips:¬†¬† Mrs. P’s Magic Library requires high speed Internet access because of all the video and interactive games on the site.¬† This one may eat up some serious bandwidth in a computer lab setting!

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Mrs. P’s Magic Library in your classroom.