Yes, I Used To Collect Comic Books
When people talk about stories from their college years, they look back fondly about who they were and what they did.
For me… I was the guy who played offensive line on the football team but also collected comic books.
Now even farther back as a kid, I read comic books, wanted to get those X-Ray specs advertised on the last page and liked watching Super Friends (except those Wonder Twins! What was that all about? “Form of Water!” that is NOT a super power I can get into).
But it wasn’t until Tim Burton’s Batman came out that my interest in superheroes and comic books really took off.
My brother and I first focused on all things Batman and then my interest expanded to other superheroes like Green Arrow and the Flash.
So, fast forward to college in Reno, Nevada and I’m playing O-Line for the Wolf Pack and my comic book collection grew as I moved from dorms to apartments during these years. Although I was often picked on by many of the guys on the team, I got to tell you that on game day when we had several hours of down time before the game to “get focused”, I would always have guys coming to me asking “hey, you got any good ones in your backpack I could read right now”?
Oh, my go to for the comic book novice was (and still is) The Killing Joke. It’s a Joker backstory and is a classic. Check it out!
Speaking of backstory, why am I writing all this about comic books on my Ed Tech blog. Well, even though I stop collecting back in my 20’s I still love comic books. And, this summer I thought of a fun and engaging lesson which students could do where they would CREATE their own comic book.
STEP ONE: PRIMSA
My inspiration of this was based on the new app which I discovered this summer called Prisma. This app (both iOS and Android) is reminiscent to the filters we all are accustomed to in Instagram and others. But to be honest, I DON’T LIKE FILTERS. I think they take more away from a photo than add to it. But WOW! Prisma is not really a filter; it is more like it redraws your photos to different artistic styles.
STEP TWO: YOUR PHOTOS
Like I said, it was summer and I was engaged in lots of summer time family vacations and as I was checking out this app I used my family summer photos to test it out. There was one photo of I “Prismad” which gave me pause. It was of my daughter pretending to be a zombie and attacking me at the Walking Dead experience in Universal Studios (which by the way was FANTASTIC!) Here is that picture:
Fans of the Walking Dead series, like myself, are aware that the show is actually based on a hugely successful comic book series. So now here I am looking at this pic once redrawn in Prisma and making the connection that “wow, this would be a cool comic book cover” or even better yet, “how about an entire comic about our vacation to Southern California”?
When you and your students start thinking about their comic books you should really think focus on this part question first: “what images are we going to use”? You can use your own existing images, find some on the web, or you can stage new ones. All this is based on your project. Here’s some examples:
• If you want to make a Rome & Juliet comic book, you can have kids pose in some of acts from the story and take photos.
• Do a “Back to School Night” comic book with your students posing with and taking photos of different parts of your school. Then put it together as a parent guide to your school
• Have kids act out parts of someone’s life as they create comic book biography
STEP THREE: GOOGLE SLIDES (or PowerPoint)
After putting the Prisma effect on my chosen pictures from the trip (oh, btw…. I recommend using the SAME style for all your pictures. Don’t jump around as this style will give a consistent theme to your comic book) the next step is to layout all their images in a storyboard.
You can do this in various ways, but in this lesson I would have them use Slides or PowerPoint. This is because most students are already familiar with the program and they will learn new ways to use the program.
Just how the pictures will be put onto the page is up to the one creating the comic book. They could put 6 images or just one. I would recommend looking at some comic book layout examples to get an idea, like these:
Before you begin dropping in images you must change the orientation. By flipping the orientation from landscape to portrait will give it much more of a look like a classic comic book.
Once your images are inserted, you will may need to edit them in order to make them fit. I recommend getting comfortable with the CROP tool.
You will also need to add text to help tell the story. Here is a simple guide to text in comic books:
STEP FOUR: THE GRAVY
Any good Thanksgiving dinner is not complete until you put on the gravy. This is the finishing touch to a great meal. So, do the same for this project. Spice up your cover!
Instead of gravy, accessorize your cover with add-ons like a title, author, comic book company logo, price, Here are a few which you can download:
STEP FIVE: PRINT
Yes, even though this is digital project there is something pretty cool about seeing the final product in print. So why not take the final step and have this printed on nice quality paper, preferably on back to back, and then staple it to make complete the book.
Below is my first attempt at this with my Summer Vacation comic book. Feel free to open it up in Google Slides here then go to FILE and MAKE A COPY, if you would like to use mine as a guide.
Thanks for taking the time to check out this lesson idea. If you end up making one of these yourself or with you students please share back with your final comic books.
So long Summer!
Whoa... its been about two months since my last blog post, but hey... summer makes it a little hard to keep a writing routine. And since I am making excuses about summertime laziness, I will make this post about my summer. Now actually, this is really a sequel to an earlier blog post I wrote at the end of last school year about reflecting back on my year. It was titled My Year By The Numbers. I used the hashtag #ednumbers on Twitter to share my reflections and asked if anyone else wants, they can use my template or make their own. Below are some of the from other educators around the country who gave it a try.
Now, as I start back at my job, I thought about doing this reflection again but using numbers look back at my summer.
Check out my "Summer By The Numbers" below
As you can see, it was not a slow and quiet summer, but one filled with travel and experiences. Along the way I did try to grow professionally. I read blogs and books, listened to podcasts and spent time reflecting.
If you would like to make your own one of these you can start from scratch or use the following template I made. The template is a stripped down version of my summer infographic.
Here is the Google Drawing template. (use File - Make a Copy to have your own version)
If you are looking into doing one of these I CAN'T RECOMMEND ENOUGH using the website thenounproject.com to search for icons. It is an incredible resource, one you really should check out.
Although this is a fun way for any of us to reflect back at our summer, I really think that this could be a fun activity for students to
1) share about themselves and their summer vacation and
2) learn many of the skills in creating a graphic while using Google Drawing, such as layering, nudging, color theory and so many more.
If you or your students end up using these for your "Summer By The Numbers" please share back with me and use the #ednumbers as well.
Fact vs Fiction
Thanks to Brian Briggs for compiling ALL these April Fool's Google videos from this year. I had seen a few but did not know of all of these.
Original Post Below
Google just loves April Fools Day. With this day coming up you can be sure to expect Google and other tech companies to "unveil" some pretty incredible tools. You should be cautious though - No tech company will release ANYTHING revolutionary on April 1st. These pranks are often so well produced that they seem like could be real. For example... check out one of my favorites. Google Nose
I've compiled some of my favorite of these Google April Fool's Day pranks. They are fun to just watch but try playing a game with your students. Fact vs Fiction.
Start a class day off by saying "OK kids, watch this video and then decide if this is Fact or Fiction" Play a video and then poll them if they think it is real or not. Before you reveal the answer, ask what some of the clues they found to make their decision. In order to make this challenging, you have to find some videos of real technologies to keep them honest. So, I put together a list of both of Fact and Fiction videos below.
Google Self Driving Cars
Makey Makey Go
Bruno Trash can
Do you have any mind blowing technologies that we can add to this list? Please comment or share back if you have any.
and check back after April 1st to see what Google did for 2016.
Learn About Search: Loomis CA
Recently I was asked to lead a workshop for elementary GATE grade students in my neighboring district of Loomis CA. This workshop was a two hour “learn about Search” session all about how to search and what to watch for.
First off, thanks to Cinnamon Johnsrud, Superintendent Medd and the team at LUSD for having me out to work with these students. It is great to have neighboring districts looking to each other for support and we in Rocklin will be reciprocating this by asking our neighbors like Loomis, Roseville, Placer and more for help in the the future. (By the way, we will have the one and only John Eick coming out later in March to help give our entire district a shot of adrenaline with a keynote. Looking for to in John and oh I will be blogging about this as well!)
This 2 hour after school workshop was designed for students interested in learning more about how to search and what to be aware of while you’re searching.
As a TOSA and presenter, I have been working with my teachers for quite some time. It was so rewarding to be back in front of a group of students! I have taught tech lessons much like this while I was teaching high school to students in my Web Design courses, but not with 4th and 5th graders. So, I was a little unsure of their ability, speed and background knowledge regarding Google, the web and how to Search.
In creating this workshop, I used much of those Web Design lessons from my past but in MY searching and prepping I came across some good resources. But, hands down, this was the MOST useful tool that I added.
This is the Google Search Education . This site labels itself as ... "With the materials on this site, you can help your students become skilled searchers- whether they're just starting out with search, or ready for more advanced training"
Please spend some time looking at these lessons, activities and even a “A Google a Day Challenges”
The kids really took to the idea of trying to find how real and reliable sites are (we made this a challenge i.e. is the “The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus” site real?)
And to add some fun about hoaxes I showed them the Google Nose Beta video. This is one of my favorite Google April fools day pranks. For a future post, I will share out some of my favorite Fact or Fiction site and videos on the web.
The kids also had fun learning about how to modify their Image search results to add modifiers like Size, Type, and Color.
For example you can see here how to search for BUTTERFLY and then modify the search by looking for images with the color orange.
Please reach out to me if you would like to talk about how to use some of these ideas in lessons with your classes.