One of the more subtle features in Wixie is the difference between the background, paint, and objects layer. If you know how things behave in each of these layers, you can do things like change the color of a sticker.
This blog focuses on backgrounds. Unlike stickers, which float above the paint layer, backgrounds exist behind the paint layer. In essence, that means you can paint over a background without destroying it!
The easiest way to add a background is through the Backgrounds folder in the Library.
The Backgrounds category contains folders for community, habitats, locations, story scenes, writing, and more.
Find a background you want to use and drag it onto the page. The image will fill the entire background. Now when you use the paint tools to illustrate characters and events on the scene, they are painted on a layer above the background, making it easy to erase and move.
Use this process to have students design or illustrate themselves as narrators or tour guides at famous locations around the world or in different periods in history.
Sending Artwork to the Background Layer
You can also send artwork on the paint and objects layer to the background layer.
Use the Paint tools to create your own original background or add an image from the Pics4Learning category in the Library and stretch it all the way across the page.
Then, go to the Edit menu and choose Send to Background.
This will move everything currently on the page to the background layer. This includes text, so be sure you have only what you want on the background layer to be on the page when you choose this option.
Activities that demonstrate content understanding
It is useful to add backgrounds to a Wixie project when students will be using the Paint tools to demonstrate understanding. This way, they can easily erase their work without damaging the background. For example, a background gives context to student work if you want them to:
- Illustrate plants and animals in a biome
- Show a complete food chain in the context of a habitat
- Draw themselves exploring sites around the world
- Send themselves back in time
- Trace the routes of explorers or animal migrations
- Write and illustrate a story
Create your own story starters
Staring at a blank page, whether it is a sheet of paper or screen on the computer, doesn't always trigger imagination and help students get started writing. To help spark their ideas, add backgrounds to different pages in a Wixie project and assign it to students so it appears in the Activities area of their Wixie project view.
In this story starter example (available at the Trading Post), there are four pages with a super hero theme to help students begin writing their own hero narrative. All images are backgrounds so it is easy to add text and paint to each page.
Students can use the storyboard view to duplicate and rearrange these pages if they need to expand their story.
Understanding more about the different layers in Wixie can help teachers use the Wixie tools to create more dynamic and engaging instructional activities. Apply their knowledge of the difference (critical thinking) and can help students use the Wixie tools to more powerful effect(creativity) when sharing ideas and information (communication).