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ArtRage 2.6 Starter Edition - Ambient Design

Grades
3 to 10
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Traditional art media become digital with the free ArtRage 2.6 Starter Edition paint program. Pencil, chalk, paint and marker tools smear, smudge, blend,and flow just like real art...more
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Traditional art media become digital with the free ArtRage 2.6 Starter Edition paint program. Pencil, chalk, paint and marker tools smear, smudge, blend,and flow just like real art materials. You and your students can paint with thinned oils, use wet or dry markers, soften the pencil and control the hardness of the crayon, and much more. Scroll down the page to find the FREE 2.6 Starter download instead of the 30 day free trial of ArtRage 3.0.

tag(s): graphic design (39), photography (152)

In the Classroom

ArtRage 2.6 Starter Edition can be downloaded and installed on machines running Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, and Macintosh OS X 10.3.9 or later. Check with your IT department or administrator for download and installation approval and help (if needed). ONly the need to download and install pushes this tool to the "Edge."

The ArtRage 2.6 interface is simple and intuitive, with large icons which clearly identify tools and options. While the program has a user guide and the website offers a quick start tutorial plus several technique-specific tutorials, fifteen minutes of clicking on icons, exploring the menus and playing with tools will give you a good start creating works of art. Teachers and students who are familiar with standard paint programs included in Windows and Mac machines will quickly grasp the basics and enjoy exploring the artistic possibilities of ArtRage 2.6. The program supports English, French or German language labels on tools and menus.

Be sure to ask student "experts" to demonstrate the ArtRAge tools on your interactive whiteboard. Students can use ArtRage 2.6 to create illustrations, drawings and paintings for storybooks, book reviews and author posters in English or language arts activities. Math and science concepts can be explained through illustrative drawings, such as a diagram of a flower's parts or the steps in oxidation. Make visual representations of mathematical operations or concepts such as fractions. Have ELL or foreign language students import images into ArtRage 2.6, trace and color them to create unique vocabulary cards and posters illustrating new words. Recognize and celebrate your students by importing their digital photos and applying textures and effects to create special birthday cards, awards, bulletin board pictures, and desktop signs. Share students' curriculum-related digital art projects on your class web page, blogs, or wiki (with parent permission) as well as your bulletin board. There are no safety concerns with this program because it is locally installed and does not involve interaction with the "general public" or social networking.

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Simple Diagrams - Daniel McQuillen

Grades
5 to 12
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Simple Diagrams is a free download desktop application useful to create diagrams and flowcharts. This easy-to-use tool turns ideas and concepts into a visual explanation. You merely...more
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Simple Diagrams is a free download desktop application useful to create diagrams and flowcharts. This easy-to-use tool turns ideas and concepts into a visual explanation. You merely drag and drop icons from the available library onto either a chalkboard or a whiteboard background. Insert personal photos or type written notes on virtual index cards or post-its directly into a diagram. Select colors, adjust alignment, magnify or minimize images and arrange content in layers. One annoying feature of the free version is that it is constantly asking users to upgrade to the paid full version. The free version does not allow you to save their diagram but it is possible to export work as a PNG file on your computer. Insert the PNG file directly into a presentation or interactive whiteboard lesson. Simple Diagrams uses an Adobe AIR platform and runs smoothly on Mac, Windows, and Linux.

tag(s): charts and graphs (200), drawing (78), graphic organizers (43)

In the Classroom

Simple Diagrams is a useful tool for any subject area. Project diagrams onto an interactive whiteboard or projector and write upon them while lecturing. Ask students to demonstrate their understanding of a lesson by creating a diagram of their own. For example, students can demonstrate the chain of events behind the French Revolution, map out battle strategies, or explain the cause and effect of Industrial Age with a diagram. Science teachers may want to ask students to explain the steps of a science experiment or explain a water cycle with a diagram. Solve word problems with diagrammatic illustrations or create family trees full of digital photographs. PE teachers may find this a great tool to use to use when discussing strategic plays or relay races. Suggest using diagrams as a study tool for finals. Simple Diagrams provides a unique opportunity for students to create a visual explanation of key concepts.

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Tux Paint - Bill Kendrick

Grades
K to 6
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Are school budget cuts cramping your style? Then look at this award winning, FREE drawing application! Tux Paint is an "open source" drawing software for young students (preK - grade...more
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Are school budget cuts cramping your style? Then look at this award winning, FREE drawing application! Tux Paint is an "open source" drawing software for young students (preK - grade 6) and is available to the public at no cost. If you are familiar with Kid Pix, you will feel right at home with Tux Paint. The design is straightforward, and easy to navigate. The center of the screen serves as a large canvas with drawing tools on either side. Beneath the screen is a color palette. A cute penguin cartoon character directs students through the program and provides helpful tips. Some of the features include a large, kid friendly mouse pointer, brushes, stamps, sounds, erasers, letters, numbers, "magic effects," and an undo/redo option. Save artwork directly onto a slide finder page without having to create a file name. The installation is quick and easy even for older computers. First, download the application itself, and then the stamp collection. The number of stamps and the variety of images is amazing! Feel free to install Tux Paint on as many computers as you wish. Tux Paint will work on a variety of operating platforms such as Windows, OS X 10.3, and Linux. The "Tux Paint Configuration" tool is a separate file found on the "Tux Paint" download page. Having the controls in a different location makes it difficult for students to adjust the settings. Simply open the Tux Paint Configuration file and a main control panel will come up. From here, the supervising adult can control the screen size, sound, mouse, print settings, and save functions. Adjust the settings and simplify the program for younger children. Choose from approximately 80 different languages to run Tux Paint. Click here to see an example of a "painting" made to accompany the book Chicka Chicka BOOM BOOM .

tag(s): creativity (120), drawing (78), painting (62)

In the Classroom

Introduce this fabulous site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students take turns trying the program. Include a link to Tux Paint on your class website and encourage families to download Tux Paint onto their family computer. Elementary teachers will enjoy all the options Tux Paint provides for image making. Classroom teachers can have students draw a response to a class glyph, illustrate stories, label scientific images, write and illustrate word problems or create self-portraits. You will need headphones or speakers for the audio portions of this site. Dazzle parents at Open House or Back to School Night with a viewing of the slide show presentation or looping animation of student work. Save student work as a JPG and export images into a multimedia presentation with narration using Slidestory, reviewed here. Ask older students to design and submit new stamps to Tux Paint. Explain to them the premise behind Open Source software and how to participate in collaborative software development. Tux Paint is also a great way to teach young students how to control a mouse, type, drag, and cut or paste imagery. Stuck for lesson ideas on how to use Tux Paint, just ask the students!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Grammar Ninja and Sentence Creator - Greg Lieberman

Grades
4 to 8
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This simple, interactive game practices parts of speech by asking the viewer to click and identify specific parts of speech in sentences. The options for the game itself do not ...more
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This simple, interactive game practices parts of speech by asking the viewer to click and identify specific parts of speech in sentences. The options for the game itself do not last long, even though there are three levels. Teacher and students can take the game into many more levels and use students' own sentences, however, by downloading the "Grammar Ninja Sentence Creator" (GNSC). This software (available in both Mac and Windows versions) downloads as a "zipped" (compressed) file that opens to reveal a folder full of goodies. You will want to SAVE it on your desktop for easy access. There is an offline copy of the Grammar Ninja game and a separate Sentence Creator game. Open Sentence Creator and follow simple instructions to enter your own sentences and drag and drop labels onto the parts of speech. Then comes the "geek" part: the Sentence Creator has you copy and paste what appears to be scary computer code into a separate file within that folder of downloaded items. You can click for help that shows you what to do. Save the txt file you just copied and pasted, and YOUR sentence will show up when you play the Grammar Ninja game on THAT computer. Turn DOWN your speakers or the music will drive you crazy! If your school blocks downloads, save the folder onto a USB "stick" from a download at home and bring it in to school.

tag(s): grammar (208), parts of speech (69), speech (87), verbs (38), word study (78)

In the Classroom

Have students try the online version of the Grammar Ninja game on your interactive whiteboard (IWB) when teaching parts of speech. As you exhaust the options and notice that the number of sentences is limited, challenge a few students to use classroom computers to download and create their own sentences. Students who follow written directions well could do this on their own. Or you could do it together as a class on your IWB. Once students know how to create sentences, give them a chance to add their own. Remember that sentences will only play on the computer where you have created and saved them. If you keep the GNSC folder on the desktop of that machine, you could easily copy it onto a USB "stick" to be added to another computer. Have students challenge each other with sentences written around specific science or social topics you are studying or use sentences extracted from their own writing drafts so they learn grammar along with other content. Have students "swap" sentence files or challenge the entire class. Note: if you create a sentence with the WRONG answers, the game does not know that. Teachers will want to check (and score?) the accuracy of the parts of speech their sentence-creators identify! What a great way to do assessment!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Stellarium - Stellarium Open Source Software

Grades
4 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Stellarium is a free, open source planetarium software for your computer. You must download the software and install it on your computer to create a planetarium-like experience right...more
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Stellarium is a free, open source planetarium software for your computer. You must download the software and install it on your computer to create a planetarium-like experience right in your classroom. (Open source software is free to allow software developers to collaborate and improve on the products.) The download and install are not difficult, but you should ask someone for help if you are uncomfortable.

tag(s): planets (134), space (229), stars (69)

In the Classroom

You may need tech support to help you install the program on a school computer. There is an extensive wiki (user-contribution help section) to answer your questions about using Stellarium.

Try it on a projector in your classroom or even on an interactive whiteboard where students can draw and highlight items "in space." When you find successful strategies for using the software, be sure to participate in the wiki to share them. Or contact TeachersFirst to let us know more about ways to use Stellarium, so we can share them with other teachers!

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Collage Machine - National Gallery of Art

Grades
4 to 12
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Here's a super visual resource from the National Gallery of Art that lets users create their own full-color collages. Art teachers will snap this one up for its applications in ...more
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Here's a super visual resource from the National Gallery of Art that lets users create their own full-color collages. Art teachers will snap this one up for its applications in demonstrating uses of color, design, and pattern. In addition to its instructional value, this one is just plain fun as well.

tag(s): colors (77), design (88), patterns (87)

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