Tuesday, August 28, 2012

{Tuesday Teaching} Edheads

"Edheads creates unique, free Web experiences designed to make hard-to-teach science, technology, engineering, and math concepts understandable."

 Doesn't this sound exactly like a Mrs. V tool? I'll try it out this week and let you know! Two activites in particular catch my eye:

Design a Cell Phone
Using the Engineering Process (Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve), you analyze data and research and come up with a plan to create a new cell phone. In class, I would do a similar exercise with my students. I asked them to spend some time thinking of how to make the phone more functional, user-friendly, or more visually appealing. For extra bonuses, the students could come up with new features to add to a phone. I remember one student suggesting a built-in mini printer. I, for one, had never heard of it before. Isn't that genius! Our future is bright!

Click here - Engineering Design - Edheads

Simple Machines

A simple machine is any device that changes the magnitude or direction of a force. It makes work easier.

Click here - Simple Machines - Edheads

Try this one out and next week, we will build our own simple machines!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Teaching {Wordle}

Word clouds by Wordle.

My curriculum for my technology classes always includes a graphic design unit. The students always get a kick out of finding their inner designer, and they love using Wordle! I'd even go so far as to say the students prefer spending their time on the internet on this site over an educational game website. Believe it! :)

I love this. I love this for games, for summaries, for brainstorming, for design - in science, technology, reading, English, a little girl's bedroom. I love this for everything!

The first word cloud comes from a 'Copy & Paste' transcript of one of my earlier Teaching posts. Hm... Displacement, water, boat, tinfoil.... Can you guess which post it is?
Click here!

Wouldn't Wordle come in handy when in a Reading class setting? Or even with your kids at home. After the child reads a story, they can type in the main points they remember and see their word cloud come to form. Or you could make the word clouds and have the child guess which story the word cloud represents. 

Sound familiar?

I also think this is a very creative and cute way to incorporate a personal touch in a framed print in a child's room.
Taken right from her Wikipedia page. Did I pick a famous enough woman? :) 

To use Wordle,
1. go to http://www.wordle.net/create
2. type in your set of words. Click go!
3. change settings in the upper left hand corner of your image (font, color, direction of words, etc.)
4. if there are words you do not want to have in your graphic, simply right click on the word and click 'Remove _______'

I can't wait to see what you come up with! Comment with a link to show off your designs!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday Teaching {Hovercrafts}

There were certain concepts that were always met with a groan when introduced in class. Maybe this was because the concepts were taught them over and over again and they were certain nothing exciting was coming out of the lesson that day. Which made me want even more to find and create awesome projects to demonstrate the science principles!

One such principle was Newton's 3rd law - Every action has an opposite and equal reaction. 
A common example of this is letting the air out of a blown-up balloon. As you let the air out to your left, for example, an equal force pushes in the opposite direction (into the balloon) and causes the balloon to propel to the right.

Using this same concept, we can harness that equal and opposite force to create a simple and quick hovercraft.

With that brief introduduction, I'm sending you over to Scientific American to create such a hovercraft. Let me know your results! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Anything Else Fridays {Spice Container Labels}

Our Friday this week falls on Wednesday. Or atleast, a boating adventure tomorrow gets me feeling like it's the weekend already! This week, I wanted to spice up our .. spice rack. Zing!

We've been in the market for a spice rack since we moved into our everything-is-bigger-except-the-kitchen apartment to free up some much needed cupboard space. A nice wood one was our first choice, and we scored one off Craigslist for $10!

Included were the dull generic bottles, identical, making it ridiculously hard to tell the 32 spices apart and adding 10 minutes to dinner prep time.

I shopped around for some new spice container labels and only found blank labels that you write on yourself. AH. Not going to ruin my new beautiful spice rack with my squigglies! I decided to make them myself. Another excuse to break out the tiny graphic designer in me. 

I like to do test prints on lined paper so I know exactly where on the paper the graphics will print. Put it in the correct way a normal lined paper would lay and see which side/corner your design comes out on. It's foolproof!

The initial plan was to use Avery labels with their printing template. Sounds easy, right? Should've been. But, the Martha Stewart version I got sadly printed out really runny - not even a step up above my squigglies. So, for the (hopefully) temporary time, I've just cut these out from printer paper and glued them on the blank labels.

Not ideal, but I invite you to imagine what they look like from really far away :) Even with that hiccup though, I feel like they add lots more personality to the kitchen. I love them! 

Let me know in the comments if you'd like the sheets I designed and in what format (Photoshop/Word/PDF). I'm going to try these with the normal, non-Martha Stewart Avery 1.5" labels soon to see if they work. Enjoy!

Wednesday! {Mrs. V revamping}

Hello to all you fantastic readers who I left for a whole month!

 My apologies. When I took on the Mrs. V role at home, I wasn't sure how it would all go. There were kinks, most of the kinks being the amount of work I was going to be able to do for the blog and the many, many days I spent/am spending out of town and away from the computer.

From now on, I'll be {teaching} once a week on Tuesdays and {basically crafting/designing} on Fridays. And I'll try my best even when I'm out of town.

Hope your summer is coming to a wonderfully fun close.

:) Mrs. V

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Musings {Quietube}

{Sorry about last week! We started the week off out of town, and we had to get our routines back when we came home. Thanks for being patient!}

Sometimes in class, Youtube is my biggest helper. I can generally find exciting clips of projects we are about to make or detailed video diagrams of certain concepts. But, as you know if you've ever used Youtube before, the comments are open to any kind of language and sometimes suggested videos on the side aren't appropriate for the audience. Some teachers used Quietube - so I thought I'd share. Quietube takes out all the comments and side videos and just shows you the single video playing with one ad below it. I haven't used it much, but I've been very grateful for it the few times I have! Here's an example of one video I might show in class, which happens to be a person launching a rocket made from plastic soda bottles. Pretty awesome.

This does ask to put a bookmark on your internet, so disclaimer there. But once you have the bookmark, you just find a video on Youtube, push the Quietube button  on your bookmark (Similar to a 'Pin it' button) and it transfers you to the quietube site with the original video. Check out Quietube.com if you're interested. So far, I've had no trouble with it. Enjoy!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Anything Else Fridays {Finishing up}

I'm real excited (and relieved) to report the Projects Completed this week!

Other side of Pillow cover for baby girl's room. Design by cluckclucksew

Still no curtain rod, but I'd say this baby girl's room is done! Finished the race, but hasn't gotten the medal yet kind of done :)

Flip side of the pillow
This gallery wall was tricky! I had a few different arrangements that I really loved and so I put the different sizes of paper on the wall only to discover that the spotlight above gave really weird shadows! So I decided nothing could go underneath the middle one, which is going to house a cute typography of our family mission statement. So I had to go out horizontally. In the end, I made a single breakage line on both sides of the middle frame and matched up the little ones to keep the breakage line obvious through the whole thing. Yes, I made up the term breakage line. It's the new planking.