Tag Archives: powerpoint

Mr. Men and Little Miss in the Computer Lab

Mr. Men and Little Miss Technology Integration Activity

Combine language arts and technology using this fun Mr. Men and Little Miss activity.

Too many curriculum objectives and too little time! What to do?
A fun activity using technology not only achieved a number of curriculum goals but it raised my Grade 3 students’ level of enthusiasm to new heights!

I was feeling a bit overwhelmed when I considered my ‘to do’ list.

  1. In Language Arts, our curriculum expectations list that students will:
    • Reading: read a variety of texts and demonstrate understanding of the important ideas and supporting details
    • Writing: write for an intended audience using editing, proofreading, and publishing skills
    • Media Literacy: create media texts using knowledge of language conventions

  2. Our Information and Communication Technology outcomes require students to:
    • Use technology tools to communicate through multimedia
    • Compose, revise, and edit text
    • Navigate and create hyperlinked resources
    • Use communication technology to interact with others

  3. My primary students had Kindergarten reading buddies that we met with once a week. Students were paired up and had a 30 minute session in the library or classroom where the older student read a picture book to the younger child. Both grades loved this activity and although it had a wealth of academic, personal, and social benefits, it wasn’t listed in the curriculum but neither the students nor the teachers would consider missing a session.

Could I possibly combine all these issues in one fun, meaningful, and effective learning experience?

The Kindergarten teacher’s collection of those delightful little white square storybooks, the Mr. Men and Little Miss series came to the rescue! I noticed that these books were the fan favorites of both younger and older children. Whether it was the funny characteristics of the main characters that we see in ourselves, the simple illustrations, or the size of the books, I don’t know, but they were hugely popular!

Here’s the activity that to my surprise, turned out to be wildly successful:

Read the Storybooks

During reading buddy sessions, student pairs had to read at least one Mr. Men and Little Miss book. If they read more than one, they should pick a favorite.

Create Digital Storybooks

In the computer lab, each Grade 3 student created a Mr. Men and Little Miss digital book. Summarizing the plot of the book, they made a series of pictures with a sentence of text on each page. Most students used about 5 pages to retell the story, but it could be done with as little as 3 pages. Of course, then a few adventurous and industrious children went to town and created much more lengthy renditions. Some were unstoppable and even went on to make more than one book. Did I mention it was an immensely popular activity?

The program we used was HyperStudio but Microsoft PowerPoint would work equally well. Students wrote the summary as one sentence and drew a picture on each page, then connected the pages with buttons. We borrowed the actual books from the Kindergarten teacher for computer lab time, as students asked to refer to the story and its illustrations for their own recreations.

The beauty of this series is that the drawing technique can be easily emulated by young children. Any program that allows students to draw with a solid black line and then use a fill bucket to color the shape will work. My students had used HyperStudio and the drawing and text tools previously, so the only skills that needed to be introduced was the task of retelling a story with a sentence and a picture on each screen and the skill of creating a button. Otherwise, some pre-teaching in the form of skills introduction and practice would be required.

Share and Celebrate

The most excitement occurred when it was time to show the digital storybooks to the Kindergarten reading buddies. My students were thrilled to have their young friends come to our computer lab period and demonstrate their creativity. To involve both partners, the Grade 3 student opened the story file and read the text, but had the Kindergarten student click the buttons to move from page to page.

If we had more time, I would have had the Kindergarten students rotate from computer to computer to view the work of other students. However, for the next lab period, my students asked if they could look at each others’ stories and so we spent a session sharing once again. This had to be the sign of a successful project!

Perhaps it was a lucky break that these curriculum expectations and classroom activities worked so well together, but I’ve found that learning experiences using the computer are most effective when they are meaningful to the students. If children can see the relevance of an activity to their own lives, they are most likely to be keen to learn the skills required. If you’ve had a similar experience, I’d love to hear about it.

PowerPoint Scrapbook

PowerPoint Scrapbook Page

PowerPoint was used to create scrapbook pages.

My Grade 6 students just completed their digital scrapbooks. They were made using Microsoft PowerPoint. I loved the activity so much that I am thinking about writing a TechnoKids technology project for the activity. Let me tell you more about it!

It was the final computer class of the school year. We had just finished TechnoClue and I was interested in a quick review activity to fill the last class period. I knew whatever we did, had to be FUN!

NOTE: The TechnoClue project has been a favorite for many years. Unfortunately, it is no longer available. To find other TechnoKids projects view the Project Matrix or visit the TechnoKids website.

I had explored using Web 2.0 tools to create an online photo album but the school network prohibited using online apps. This resulted in my backup plan or PLAN B – to use PowerPoint. At first, I was so disappointed…that was until I experienced the students’ enthusiasm for the task. They LOVED it!

To prepare for class, I had gathered photos taken throughout the school year and placed them into a shared folder. I had also created a sample digital scrapbook.

When the students came into class I wasted no time. I introduced the task, showed the sample, and then offered design and layout suggestions. That was it! They were to use all the skills they had learned throughout the year to complete the task by the END OF CLASS. It was the perfect review activity.

Why PowerPoint was the Right Choice

At first I wanted to use the Web 2.0 Tools such as Smilebox and MyScrapNook. Now I am glad I didn’t. Why?

I now realize the power of a blank PowerPoint slide. It gives students an empty canvas that they can pour all of their creativity onto to transform it from something white and bland, to something colorful and interesting. A template from an online app can’t do that!

The online apps I experimented with were very fun, but the design choices had already been made. This can be limiting.

My students astounded me with their original ideas. For example, one students use a textured background that looked like a corkboard. She then applied a picture style to each picture to make it look like a Polaroid picture. Each image was stuck to the board using a clip art push pin. It looked fantastic!

Another student used an AutoShape to list all of her classmates beside a class photo. She could not have done that with a preset template. I can go on and on about students amazing design and layout choices. I was really impressed by their skillset and the quality of the final product.

Sometimes Plan B turns out to be way better than Plan A.

Technology Skills

As a teacher, it is very rewarding to see my students apply their learning by transferring their skills to a new task. My students were able to design four or sometimes even more slides in only about 35 minutes. Their skillset was impressive! They were able to:

  • adjust View settings to preview images in a folder
  • toggle between open windows
  • insert a new slide and select a suitable layout
  • create a title slide
  • decorate a publication with clip art
  • insert a picture from file
  • scale, position, rotate, and flip objects
  • apply picture styles to clip art and images
  • insert and format WordArt
  • draw and format shapes
  • add text to shapes
  • format text to make it eye catching and easy to read
  • apply a slide design and customize the color scheme
  • format a slide background and apply it to only one slide
  • hide the background graphics on only one slide
  • adjust object order
  • print a presentation as a handout and adjust the print settings

Making scrapbook pages using PowerPoint was a fun activity and it would definitely be one I would do again.