Swimming and Water Safety Time and IT Helpers

Our Grade 5 classmates are spending some time each day at the pool. They are participating in our yearly Swimming and Water Safety program for students in grades 3-5. They are all using the time to become better swimmers by practising their strokes and to learn survival and safety techniques.

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Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Eugenio via Compfight

On Tuesday, before the Grade 5’s headed off to pool,  all of the class worked hard  by becoming IT buddies for the children from Prep F or the children from Prep/1 G. They helped the students in these classes to do some drawings using ArtRage. This computer program is one of Mrs S’s favourites.

Before using ArtRage both classes listened while Mrs S read a story. Prep F listened to a story called Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton and Prep/1 G listened to Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French. Then each class drew their favourite part of the story with some great technical help from the Grade 6 helpers. Everyone practised using layers to separate out parts of their drawings.

Adding layers in ArtRage can be very useful.

Adding layers in ArtRage can be very useful.

While our Grade 5’s were enjoying themselves at the pool the Grade 6’s were hard at work back at school. They were all challenged to create a presentation of the drawings created by the younger classes. Mrs S did not tell them which computer program to use and many of the class used two or even three different programs while creating their presentations. They found out that it can be a very repetitive task as they added pictures, resized them, worked on transitions and timings, and tried out different layout ideas.

Below are some of the finished presentations. Not everyone finished in the timeframe we had. An afternoon was just not long enough!

 created by Rohan

created by Hugo

created by James E

Have you created a presentation? What programs did you use? Do you have any tips for creating a good presentation? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

Exploring Our Weather Data

We have been very lucky to have some of our blogging friends adding data to our spreadsheet over the last few months. Last Monday while our Grade 6 students are away on an excursion the Grade 5 students had time to explore the collected data.

First of all Mrs S gave out a print out of each sheet from our master spreadsheet and challenged us to work out which marked dot on a map matched our data. We had to read the data carefully to find some clues to the locations and use our prior knowledge about the Northern and Southern Hemispheres to help us. The dates confused some of us because the month was written before the day.

We then created some visual information based on the data from our spreadsheet and began adding this to a collaborative Google Doc. Even though we worked hard on Monday we have not finished adding our graphs and charts. We experimented with using MS Excel to create some of our graphs and learnt some new skills. Others chose to create a calendar with icons or  a chart. Take a look at our work so far.

It was interesting to see the similarities and difference in our weather around the world.

What does our data tell us? Please leave a comment sharing an observation you can make from the data we have presented.

Telling a Story through Animation

We have been working with Mrs S and Mrs C on narratives. We were given the opportunity to explore telling a story through animation. We watched some great videos about creating a storyboard, making a stop motion animation and adding sound to an animation on the Arts Alive website. Did you know that a 15 second animation will need about 150 photos if each frame(photo) is shown for 10 seconds?

We looked at some animations made by some former 5/6 students and talked about telling a story using images. Lots of ideas were suggested and then we had the hard task of choosing an idea and creating our storyboard. We needed to remember that our story had to be told in about 15 seconds. Once our storyboard was finished we created the props we needed for our animation and then used a camera on a tripod to take lots of photos where we moved our props just a bit in each one.

Some of us used ArtRage and MS PowerPoint to create our animations. We created our props as drawings in either ArtRage or PowerPoint and created lots of PowerPoint slides where we moved our props just a bit in each one. We saved each Powerpoint slide as a JPEG using the save and send – change file type option.

After we had all the images we  needed we used Movie Maker to create our animated story.

Next were the sound effects. We had watched a great explanation about Foley artists on the Arts Alive website and then we tried hard to create the sounds needed for our stories. Once all the sound effects were recorded we needed to add these to our stories as a sound track. Some of us also searched the internet for some creative commons licensed music to add as well. Sometimes we needed to trim or edit our sound effects in Audacity to make sure they were not too long.

Last of all we needed to save our Movie Maker project as a video so that we could add these to our blog.

Lego Man Builds A House

The Hungry Chameleon

Jail Break

The Moment


True Friends Don’t

Jack and Jill

Holy Cow

Balloon Crash

Ginger Grows

Into Space

Humpty Dumpty

A Cluster of Cakes


Have you created an animated story? How did you do it? Was the story clear in our videos? Please leave a comment on this post telling us your thoughts.

Our Alien Creatures – a collaboration with 5/6JC

We have been working hard on another collaboration with our friends from 5/6JC. Miss Crowther was keen for us to continue working with her class after our trading card exchange. Her class were working on their writing skills and wanted to create some informational reports. We had an email conversation to work out the details of a collaboration where her class became the authors and our class became the illustrators. As our class have been exploring Space, Mrs S suggested that 5/6JC might like to write their reports about newly discovered alien species. They then emailed their reports to our class who were responsible for reading the information carefully and creating an illustration for the text.

This was a perfect opportunity for our class to revisit and practice some of the computer illustration techniques they had used earlier in the year to create avatars. Our avatars are displayed in the header at the top of our blog. Once we received our information reports we set to work reading carefully and sketching out some initial ideas. Once those ideas were on paper we found ourselves at computers all around the school working on the final product.

We had a very tight time frame. We had one day to sketch out our ideas, create our alien and save it into a folder for Mrs S to  access. Most of us were able to focus on our work and get this task done very efficiently and showcase our computer drawing skills. Sometimes it was a struggle to take the text and turn this into a picture but everyone enjoyed trying.

Here are our intial sketches and the texts we were sent by 5/6JC

And below are all the great illustrations. You will see both the artwork from our class and the original artwork created by the students of 5/6JC.

Please leave us a comment letting us know your thoughts about our artwork. What new alien species would you like to discover? What might they look like? Leave a comment with a description of your new species.

Creating Avatars

Over the last few Mondays with Mrs S we have been exploring one way of creating an image that could be used as an avatar.

An avatar is something which can be used to represent you when you are online. Many blogging sites allow you to have an avatar that will show next to your comments and when we are all finished our class with be able to use our very special avatars when leaving comments.

There are many online sites where you can create an avatar but Mrs S was trying to get our class to create one of their very own. She found some great advice on a blog post written by Bev Evans. We watch the movie about creating characters and had a go at making our own special characters. Mrs S created a template in MSPublisher for us to get started with. This gave us a square canvas to start our drawing. It was great fun exploring what we could do with Autoshapes and gradient fills. Here are some of the finished ones. They are posing on a couple of backrounds that Bev Evans had created and shared online for others to use.

It was great to learn about grouping shapes together, layering shapes by using the send forward and send backward tool, and to add different effects by editing the points of our shapes. The best part was being able to group all the shapes at the end and use the right click menu to save our creatures with a transparent background. This means we can also use them with programs like Scratch.

Hopefully when Mrs S comes back from her few weeks off work there will be more of these creatures to share with everyone. Thanks very much to Bev Evans for sharing such great how to videos. We loved being able to watch them again and again as we worked out how to make our very special creatures.

Please leave a comment to tell us whether you have ever made an avatar. How did you make it? Did you start from scratch or go to an online website? What else could we make using this great way of creating?