Becoming little while reading The Littles

In my language arts class we are currently reading The Littles by John Peterson. A fun way to involve my kids in the reading is to write our own stories as if we were small enough to live in walls. Plus we have the benefit of living in an age with 1-to-1 iPad programs. Technology allows us to go a step beyond creative writing. We can add a visual creativity to our stories with nothing more than Apple Pages. Here are some that my students made:

[su_slider source=”media: 1032,1037,1041″ link=”lightbox”]

The steps to create your own transparent images with Pages are very simple. You need to start with an image that has a mostly solid background. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but the more solid and better lit you start with, the better product you will end up with. There is a reason that studios have tons of lights and giant green screens! We usually aren’t that lucky in a classroom, so we have to make do. See my example below.

First, add the picture to your document by clicking on the + in the upper right corner:

Next, select the image and click on the paint brush icon. This will open some editing options. You want to chooose ‘Instant Alpha’.

You will need to select parts of the image to remove. Depending on the colors, you can do this little by little or in giant globs. The background that will become transparent will be shown in below as you can see below. Be careful not to remove any of your main image.

In the end you will have something like below. This can be placed on top of another image. TADA! You have superimposed an image on top of another.

 

Portfolio Day

We had an English portfolio day at school,and I just wanted to post the pictures of some of the student created story cards. There was a great turnout of parents and I think it all went very well. One thing to take into consideration for next year is how difficult it is to get the students to do a presentation for parents AFTER they have presented for their parents.

20160328_153848Also, Achieve3000 (Kidbiz or Teenbiz, or whichever version you are using) provides a printable page of the various achievements. These are perfect for 5th graders who love stickers, and they can be placed on the covers of their portfolios.

If you have been using Google Drive to collect student work, you need to make sure you print out hard copies of their work! I am disappointed that a lot of the students work was not seen because I did not have a hard copy to show the parents. Yes, trees were saved, which is a great thing, but I am sure there would have been an alternative to leaving the work out completely.

Maybe I will try to devise a Google Script that displays the contents of a students drive folder dynamically…

 

story-collage

 

M101JS: MongoDB for Node.js Developers (Week 1: Introduction)

I am going to be documenting my progress through the MongoDB University course. It is just an introduction to MongoDB, but I am still so very new at working with Mongo that it can’t hurt to have the extra practice.  And at the end of the course I should have created a few more applications! Here goes…

Welcome to M101JS

  • Course grade is made up of 50% homework assignments, and 50% final project.

What is MongoDB?

  • Simple explanation about the document model and scalability benefits of using mongodb

Overview of Building an App with MongoDB

  • Clients make requests to the node server and the server uses a driver to make requests to the database. Still very simple..

JSON and BSON

  • JSON (javascript object notation) supports:
    • string, number, boolean, array, objects
  • standard key, value pairs
  • BSON is the binary translation of the JSON that mongo uses for storage

Intro to Creating and Reading Documents

  • I am noticing that the instructor uses ‘document’ and ‘object’ interchangably
  • using mongo does not return an object or an array of objects. Instead, it is a cursor object with a few methods of its own:
    • .next() allows you to cycle through the returned objects
    • .hasNext() returns a boolean depending on whether there are more documents in the cursor object

Hello World on Node.js

  • Just a demonstration of creating a simple server with nodejs

Intro to the Node.js Driver

  • require(‘mongodb’) and establishing a connection with the database
  • this section also discusses asynchronous callbacks

Hello World using Express

  • introduces the basic structure of an express server, which I am already familiar with through freeCodeCamp instruction.
  • For that matter, all of the mongo information thus far has already been covered in various assignments I have done through FCC.

Hello World using Templates

  • Discusses the concept of template libraries. ‘nunjucks’ is the engine used in this example.

Express: Handling GET Requests & Express: Handling POST Requests

  • How to extract GET and POST variables from a request
  • Using the body parser for post variables (req.body) and get parameters (req.params)

Homework

  • The homework for this first week was just 3 simple exercises. Each involved using ‘mongorestore’ and ‘npm install’ to find an answer key. Very simple

Challenge Problem: Create Movie Entries

  • Write a Node.js web application that presents users with a form containing three fields and a submit button. The fields should be:
    • title, year, imdb

Aaaaaaaaand, that is it for week 1! Great start. Having done a lot of this with FCC helped significantly, but there were still some new concepts. I had never used ‘mongorestore’ and it is very helpful to know how to import a new db.

Coding blended in school lessons – Business – The Boston Globe

Interesting article about implementing programming into a school curriculum. And not just in math and science! English and art get a look too!

Beaver Country Day has launched a program this year to teach computer coding to every student, beginning with upperclassmen and eventually expanding down to sixth-graders. With leading technology companies pressing Massachusetts to make computer science classes available in every school system, Beaver Country Day is taking an unorthodox approach: Rather than teach it as a distinct course, Beaver is integrating coding into all of its subjects, experimenting with uses not only in math and science classes, but even in English and art.

via Coding blended in school lessons – Business – The Boston Globe.