The beginning of school is always a fun and crazy time. Kids are winding down from summer break (as are you) and schedules and classes are still getting settled. But with all of the business, setting the tone for a year of making with Pixie and Wixie is important.
Here are eight ideas for first projects to get students using technology, including information about software skills they have to learn to complete them.
Sorting Activities - Click and drag
If you are working with primary age students who do not yet know how to use Pixie or Wixie, have them begin with some simple sorting activities to evaluate their knowledge and understanding as well as ability to use a mouse. Both Pixie and Wixie include a Month-by-Month section with a folder for September which includes basic activities like Pack Your Backpack, Seasons Sort, Home or School, and Johnny Appleseed apple sort.
Introducing My Family - Paint and add clip art
Whenever you introduce new technology skills, you need to stay light on content. You can't ask students to do heavy lifting in both areas at the same time. This is why All About Me projects are so popular for introducing a new technology! Pixie and Wixie contain an All About My Family template students can use to practice with paint tools and stickers.
Even though primary-age students will not be reading a tutorial, use the steps in the Level 1 Recipe so that you, or a classroom aide, are familiar with the steps in the process. You can find tutorials online for using Pixie to make this project on Windows and OSX. This tutorial is in the training tab in Wixie.
This recipe ends with students printing a table tent, which makes for a fun way of sharing information about students through a classroom walk. If you are using Wixie, students can still print the table tents, but can also share the project online with classmates and family.
There is also a longer six-page All About Me project that repeats many of the same skills and makes for an adorable movie.
First Week Greeting Card - Web cam, paint and type text
You can also print two-page projects as greeting cards. After the first week at school, have students use this print feature to write a short note home about their new class.
Using a laptop or computer with a web cam, go to the Stickers tab, click the Web cam button and capture a picture of your students. You might also try taking their picture in front of a greenscreen so you can use the magic wand tool to remove the background. Have students use the paint tools to decorate the background.
Add text to the second page and when you print as a greeting card, you can fold into quarters and the text will show inside the card! If they aren't ready to write or type on their own, record their voice for an electronic card and share the project URL with parents in an email.
Classroom Rules - Add text and model tools
As you start out the year, have your class work with you to come up with a set of class rules. Pixie and Wixie include a template in Teacher Tools you can use to simply type text. You can, of course, start with a blank page, and add your own clip art and painted details.
Goals for the year - type text, add clip art, add voice
Before you can achieve your goals, you first need to set them. To get students thinking about successes they want to have this year, have them create a short list of academic and personal goals. Pixie and Wixie include activity templates to support this and are easy to customize so that each student's page can look unique.
These are great to print and keep in student folders or even taped to their desk. If you are going to publish the goals online, have students click the Record button and recite their goals, further cementing their connection to them.
First Week Newsletter - text and clip art, print or PDF
After students are settled, give them the responsibility of creating a class newsletter to share student learning with parents and families. Giving students responsibility like this helps give ownership in their learning and is a great way to break down teacher/student barriers and establish your class as a learning community.
Rotate the canvas in Pixie and Wixie to a portrait orientation to start from scratch or open the Newsletter activity in the Templates folder. Print the newsletters for students to take home, simply post a link to the project URL on Wixie, or export as a PDF and share on your classroom web page.
Vacation Snapshot - all tools, postcard export
Wixie includes some fun print and image export options including postcards and comics. Instead of the traditional, what did you do this summer, have students create a picture postcard from one place (even if it is their home or backyard!). Then, ask them to write to your class as if they were sending you a postcard.
Both Pixie and Wixie include a single page activity you can use to print, fold, and glue. You can also create two pages and print as a table tent. You can also create two-page e-postcards that not only include images and text, but audio narration as well. If you are using Wixie, or Pixie with K12Share.com, post the project URLs on your classroom home page so the class can explore the places students have been.
Character Education Comics - all tools, comic export
Many teachers discuss character education issues like bullying right away to start the year off right. If you aren't quite ready to hit this topic, you could also focus on comics as a fun way to discuss effective study habits, similar to a social story!
Comics are a fun way to tell a story and also supports Marzano’s instructional strategies of non-linguistic representations and summarizing! Then, choose Publish and print as comics, or choose Image>comic>pdf to create one page that shows all of the panels.
If you are looking for more even more ideas, browse the activities library for inspiration, explore the lesson plans on Creative Educator, or download the Common Core Guides for Pixie, or the Wixie guides for Common Core, Virginia SOLs, and Texas TEKS.