I really like the idea of putting up a stand alone Christmas blog. When Heather suggested it to me and discovering that there was a template for Christmas, my head went into 5th gear to try and work out what could be done. Half of our years 7-9 students have gone on a week long bike ride, so the rest of the year levels are split into three groups and rotated around the remaining staff.
I had my first group this afternoon. After showing them the bare Christmas template at www.christmas2us.wordpress.com, the group discussed what could be done to improve the site and the of content that might go in it. They were all set to task to create some different products to add to the blog. Fortunately, the year7s already had completed work on “Christmas through the 5 senses” (I smell, I see, I taste, I hear, I feel). Students come up with some amazing work, so they were challenged to convert their word processed documents into a mutli media or movie format.
After much thought and discussion and due to the time restraints placed upon us, most students cut and pasted their text into MS Powerpoint and added clip art or photos for improved visual impact. Powerpoint slides were then saved as jpg rather than powerpoint presentation. This converted each slide into a picture which could then be imported into MS Photostory. Students love using Photostory. It is so easy to use, allows photo editing, panning, transitions, text addition and is a free download if MS Office is purchased. It gives such a professional outcome with the minimum of effort and time. It can be saved into so many different formats for either output on the computer, email, mp4 players or playback on appropriate mobile phones.
As students completed their photostory, we did a search for free Christmas song mp3 files and many sites came up. Students chose an appropriate one for their story, right clicked on the link and saved target as into their folder. This allowed them to insert that music into one of the final slides of MS Photostory. The movie was tested and then saved for use on their hard drive. It was then converted into email format and uploaded into teachertube. (Youtube is banned in our schools in Victoria). A code then allows that movie to be embedded into the blog or wiki of your choice. Some of the older students are working on movies and some just love to write. When complete these will be added to the blog.
School is such a hive of activity. Christmas trees are going up in the classrooms, decorations are being made and craftwork completed.Upon wandering down the corridor, I noticed and read with delight the Christmas musings of the grade 2s. Their work was proudly displayed on the wall outside their classroom. So a separate page has been added for their writings on the blog. It is called Christmas musings. Out of the mouths of babes……..!!!!