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Technology in the classroom and teacher resources blog

Free Curved Wooden Backgrounds

Free curved wooden backgrounds

This is a reminder to myself that if I see something lovely on pInterest that I should repin it straight away. It's taken me months to find this again. Three fantastic wooden backgrounds at 2200 × 1600 and about 2MB each. There's a 62MD psd file in the download file too.

Below are the the three images, all at a little larger file size than I would normally post so

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How to take better photos for Pinterest

How to take better photos for Pinterest

Pinterest has had a very helpful set of tutorials recently. Last week it was How To Make Pins Great, and this weeks is How To Take Better Photos.

I post these links for the benefit of TpT sellers too. A strong thumbnail or preview picture will make all the difference to your store. Time and again I read posts that say a photo of the product in use in a class has a positive impact on sales too. For example, my top three crafts all have great photos taken in a classroom.

The full post is at Pinterest of course, and covers:

The basics
  • Good lighting
  • Clear and focused
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How to let students safely look for photos on the internet

How to let students safely look for photos on the internet

This could be mighty useful. I am in the habit of turning off the projector or turning my laptop away from students when I am looking for an image, but one day I might forget. Photos For Class is an attempt to save Teachers from all that stress plus allows students to safely look for images themselves.

It was created by the people behind StoryBoard That, an online storyboard creator, which I definitely need to look at another time. The images are sourced from flickr, with high safety settings. Photos For Class then apply their own filters, and even check the most popular images.

It will search for properly attributed, Creative Commons photos for school. When you download the image (rather than dragging it from browser to folder as I tend to do), it will automatically add to the image the following, and see pink cat photo as an example.

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Pinterest - How To Make Pins Great

pinterest - how to make pins great

Yes ! Some wonderful ideas from Pinterest on how to make successful pins.

The major one for me is specifics on image sizes. I was pretty close in my own experiments in getting the proportions correct, so a pat on the back for me then. In case their post disappears some highlights are below, but head to pInterest if you can as there are some great sample images.

Things to consider
What’s your primary goal for this Pin? What does your brand value?
What is your brand’s persona? If it were a person, how would you describe it?
What makes your brand unique?
How do you want people to feel after interacting with your brand? What do you want people to remember about your brand?
Pins should be:
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Disqus - Discussion plugin for blogs

Disqus - Discussion plugin for blogs

Use: Discussion Forums/boards

Description: If you’re passionate about writing and sharing, Disqus helps you build a community of active readers and commenters.

Examples: The commenting system within this blog is provided by Disqus. Leave a comment to see it in action (hint!). I registered with Disqus. They provided a user name that my website blogging software (Armadillo) recognizes. RapidWeaver from realmac software is required to use Armadillo.

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easel.ly - Infographics for Students and Teachers

Uses: Eye catching and easy to create info-graphics for educators and students.

Price is free, until you want access to extra clip art and other features I've not looked at yet. Price of upgrade $3. Works in your browser.

Description: At times as an instructor, it is necessary to display information in creative ways. For instance, a teacher can document factual information through infographics. Easel.ly is a tool that can be used to to create infographics. This technology tool allows an instructor to add pictures and symbols as well as graphs and charts to present information in a bright and colorful format.

My thoughts: I like this. So lets throw the manual to one side and check it out !

Sample project 1: A visualization of my teaching experience in Japan (embedded via easily). 

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Wordle - Beautiful Info Graphic Word Clouds

wordle

Uses: Displaying text in a visually engaging form.

The frequency of a word within a body of text dictates its size. In the above example I simply copied all the text from our Phonics Games page and it did the rest. I just chose the colour scheme. Very easy to use by teachers and students.

Settings: Font colors, background color, font (33 to choose from), language (i could remove all the Spanish words for example), layout (adjust the amount of words that are vertical, horizontal

It is browser based and requires Java to be running.

Getting the image from the application to this webpage proved to be fiddly though. In the end I...

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Wordpress - Web software to create websites and blogs

Uses: Visualizing course activities.

Description: WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.

The website you are viewing now is made with RapidWeaver, and the blog with Armadillo. It is Mac only and I love it. I am abel to create the look and features just exactly how I like them. This takes a lot of time and effort of course. If I was to start afresh tomorrow, I would look very closely at WordPress as it seems to have many of the features I like. 

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Vimeo - Secure video storage for schools

Website: Vimeo

This is where I host all my videos of school events for parents and my course work videos. I pay for this happily given the privacy features and ease of use by myself and parents. More details of how I set things up in due course.

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Animated Info Graphics - Animagraffs. How speakers are made

How speakers work and make sound

How speakers work and make noise

Thanks to Gizmodo for drawing my attention to this website. A beautifully effective animated info graphic. As a one time DJ and spender of late nights in front of sound systems I have naturally posted one of the speaker animagraffs. There are six more speaker animagrafs in that set, plus:

Beautiful, engaging, well designed, innovative and fresh. Yes... I am really impressed by these.

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Author: Hi, I’m Tim from The Magic Crayons. I am a GradDipT, CELTA, and CELTYL qualified Primary and Kindergarten Teacher from the UK working at a Tokyo International School as an English Language Support teacher (ELS/EFL). IT Integration Specialist, and Teacher Librarian. This blog reflects my Graduate Diploma in Teaching studies with the University of South Queensland, Australia, PD, and ICT in the classroom interests. I create all the artwork and videos for the teaching materials within this website. New products and special offers will be announced here first. Everything I post is about products or services that I have tried in my own classes.

Amazon recommends the following to visitors of The Magic Crayons website. Not sure why Amazon thinks you need a 12 capacity egg cooker though. Maybe you do and just never realised :-)

The Magic Crayons may receive a small commission for any purchases you make via these links.
Sakura Medal Winner - Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Visit my blog for a free Library Poster here>>>
Positive Mindset Journal For Teachers: A Year of Happy Thoughts, Inspirational Quotes, and Reflections for a Positive Teaching Experience
Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild: From the Creator of Captain Underpants (Dog Man #6)
Recognition Teacher Stamps - Mess-Free Self-Inking School Grading Stamp Set with Storage Tray (8-Piece Kit)
Classroom Management Success in 7 days or less: The Ultra-Effective Classroom Management System for Teachers
Hamilton Beach Programmable Set & Forget Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel
T-fal Nonstick Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set, Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator, 12 Piece, Black
Deluxe Rapid Egg Cooker: Electric, 12 Capacity for Hard Boiled, Poached, Scrambled, Omelets, Steamed Vegetables, Seafood, Dumplings & More.
Kikkerland Square Reusable Ice Cubes, Made of Plastic (Set of 30) | Filled With Pure Water
Homemory Realistic and Bright Flickering Bulb Battery Operated Flameless LED Tea Light for Seasonal & Festival Celebration, Pack of 12.