Grade 7 / Quarter 1 / Quarter 2 / Quarter 3 / Quarter 4

Click HERE to see our stop-motion animations!
Click HERE to watch our mood poem podcasts, using songs students created in GarageBand!

Class: 40 minutes / once a week. (We only do UltraKey to check scores periodically.)
Keyboarding Goal for end of 7th grade: Finish UltraKey. Type 25 wpm / 95%, by touch.
Student keyboarding progress reports printed from the UltraKey program will be given to parents at conferences.


Heart Diagram Resources:
Labeled diagram with each part a different color
Red/Blue labeled diagram

Quarter 1

KEYBOARDING: Student keyboarding progress reports will be given out at conferences.
Since students spend 2 periods a week typing in their writer's workshop language classes, we can spend most of our computer classes on learning other skills and working on projects. We did spend some extra time brushing up on our keyboarding first quarter.

SKILLS: Integrating Stop-Motion Animation with Science Class

We began the year by reviewing how to create a heading on a word processing document by setting tab markers in Word. Students also reviewed using the 1st line indent marker to indent paragraphs. This prepared them for writing their essays in writer's workshop language classes. These formatting skills were then transferred to Google Docs so students knew how to format properly there.

After learning about the process of animation and the illusion of motion through the Museum of the Moving Image's interactive web site, students were ready to get involved creating their own! We had discussed visual persistence (how we can perceive two images as one) and the phi phenomenon (how we perceive several images as moving). Through the process of creating our own images which were changed slightly and shown in rapid succession separated by a short period of darkness, we could see the concept behind "cartoons". We also saw how computers can help speed up this process.

We started out by making "fun" animations using MediaBlender's paint tools to draw cartoons and duplicate or copy each page and change it slightly, duplicate again, and make another change. We ran the pages very fast and could almost see the image "moving". Students will export the images and import them to iMovie, where they will adjust the time that the image is on the screen, add text, audio, and then export the file as a quicktime movie. I gave students a challenge for their fun videos. They had to include a "message" or slogan or biblical verse or concept. Some chose anit-bullying, digital citizenship, etc. For many, it was a challenge because they already had their animation completed. Some began their animation after deciding on their message, which made it a bit easier.

Next, we will create an animation of the blood flowing through the heart.

Here are some from last year:
7th Grade Heart Stop-Motion Animations!
7th Grade Fun Animations!

Here are some examples from 2010-11:
Heart Animations 7-1
Heart Animations 7-2

"Fun" Animation by Bryce Y (2011-12):

"Fun" Animation by Maggie R (2011-12):

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Quarter 2

KEYBOARDING: Student keyboarding progress reports have been sent home with the student 1/25.
Since students spend time typing in their writer's workshop language classes, we can spend most of our computer classes on learning other skills and working on projects.

SKILLS: Stop-Motion Animation with Media Blender and iMovie

Unfortunately, we have missed a lot of Tuesdays this winter and we have a large class size this year. With such a complex project, we have been not making the progress this year, that we normally do. We have just finished adjusting the length of time the images were displayed once they were imported to iMovie. Students removed the "Ken Burns" effect, although I showed them what it was and allowed them to have it on one of their slides if they chose. Then, students added title cards to beginning and end, as well as the transitions. We are now ready to add audio (background and sound effects) to the animations. Then they will be ready to upload to my Youtube channel and embedded on a wiki. We will do the same procedure to make the blood flow through the heart.

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Quarter 3

SKILLS: (Completing the 2 animations (Message animation / Heart animation) Integrating writing songs in Garageband with music class; Integrating creating a podcast with language class. Click HERE to see our stop-motion animations!

Finishing animations in iMovie:
Students found a diagram of the heart they wanted to use from the Internet. They imported it as a background to the Media Blender program. That enabled them to use paint tools to erase extra lines and modify the diagram for their purpose. Next, they started painting in with blue to show the blood coming in from each vena cava. Students duplicated the page and continued with the blue until the blood left the heart. Then, they started painting with red to show the path the oxygenated blood takes.

When the drawings were complete, students exported the pages as images, which gave me a chance to emphasize file formats, .jpg for images. We then started a different program, imovie, to run our 100+ images and add sound. Students removed the Ken Burns effect, or added it on one frame, adjusted the speed of each frame, created a title card/ending card and transitions. After the video portion was complete, students found audio (background music and sound effects) to insert (.wav or .mp3) in Garageband and Last, I directed them in exporting the project to my Youtube channel. This project also gives students experience editing video using iMovie.

After painting 100+ pages, students will not forget the path of circulation through the heart! I am glad for the creativity they have shown in making the blood "drip" or "pour" as well. Check back to the site to see the finished videos!

Our Stop-Motion heart animation videos are finished! We've added title cards, transitions, background music and sound effects in iMovie, and then uploaded them to YouTube and embedded them in a new wiki. Click on the link to watch them! What an awesome project with great skills learned! - And no one will ever forget the pathway of the blood flowing through the heart. :-)

The students were learning so many computer skills and were so creative making videos about circulation, that I agreed to allow them to make a "fun" animation when they begged. The extra project will just cement their understanding of file formats, importing/exporting, working with the features of several programs, adding audio, video editing, working with iMovie, uploading to YouTube, embedding in a web page.
Click HERE to see our stop-motion animations!

Last Year's Videos:
7th Grade Heart Stop-Motion Animations!
7th Grade Fun Animations!

Writing a song with Garageband:
In prior years, the middle school music teacher and I worked together to help the students write their own songs using Garageband. This year, since we don't have a middle school music teacher, I taught Garageband by myself again. The program contains many different genres of musical "loops" that can be linked together to make a song. Some are loops of a single instrument that add complexity to the song. The students loved this activity, and with some guidelines (which types of instruments to put together, and how to begin and end a song), they were able to create varied and great sounding pieces!

Providing feedback to each other on a Wiki / Creating Podcasts with Garageband: Since students had written such wonderful songs and they have also written poetry in language class, students will incorporate them both in a podcast next quarter, working with Mr. Rush.

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Quarter 4

Katie's Song (written with Garageband):

Mandi's Podcast (Poem and Song written by Mandi):

SKILLS: Finishing the poem podcasts with music they wrote in GarageBand; Finishing adding their baking recipe to Mrs. Ruhl's online cookbook for Home Tech; Making a video game with Scratch

Podcasts - Students still needed most of the third quarter to complete their poem podcasts and their cookbook. I made many of them re-record themselves reading their podcasts to add expression and to speak louder and more clearly. This was such a wonderful project - they wrote their own song, then wrote their own poem to go with it. I wanted it to be a great final project when they recorded their voices. This is difficult for most students at this age, because they are so self-conscious. I also had to tell many of them to add more pictures. In a podcast, the viewer doesn't want to look at the same picture for too long. Finding the right images and lining them up just at the right places can make a good podcast - great! Some students added sound effects, as well. One even added an Elvis song at the end of his! The students had fun with the project. They watched them during one of Mr. Rush's classes.
You can listen to their songs and watch their podcasts by clicking HERE.
Last Year's Podcasts: HERE.

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Quarter 2

SKILLS: Integrating animation and video-editing with science

Video editing in iMovie
I decided it was worth doing most of the editing for the animations in iMovie, rather than Frames. It is easier to work with audio in iMovie and add sound effects. I want students to be familiar with the more advanced tools in iMovie, as well, so they can transfer that knowledge to other programs. Students searched for sound effects in and saved them and added them to their animations. They are getting a good workout and understanding of different types of files: images (.jpg), movies (.mov), sounds (.wav), as well as understanding that animations are made up of many images. They were learning how to split video and audio and adjust them on the track to bring life to a video. Students have created title slides and a slide for credits to their videos. They have also been using 3 programs for this project, and are understanding how some programs specialize in certain tasks and that you can export and import files between programs to take advantage of what each has to offer. In fact, we are getting into MediaBlender's program folder to select great copyright-free songs to use for background music in iMovie. It is so exciting to see them share their animations with each other, as they are so proud of their creations. This is actually what my son does in NY as a video editor for Time Life, several documentaries, and a new kids' TV show. I will select some of them to upload to my YouTube channel and embed on this wiki. This year's 7th grade is a huge class. Animation and video editing is a complicated process, so the class gets a bit hectic as they are helping each other and the project has taken much more time than other years. I decided to skip the application of animation to the blood flow of the heart, so we have time to do other things this year.

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Quarter 3

SKILLS: Integrating creating podcasts using Garageband with social studies; Integrating writing songs in Garageband with music class; Integrating creating a database and doing a mail merge with language

Creating Podcasts: The 7th graders had been studying China in social studies class. I had them choose a topic about China to research on the Internet, using some sites I placed on my Portaportal site. As they gathered information, they also downloaded images to a folder on their computer. They rewrote their notes as a type of script, adding where they would place a picture they were describing. They were preparing to create a podcast - a type of slide show with pictures, narration, and background music. They dragged their images to a track in Garageband and then recorded themselves reading their script. The pictures had to be stretched out to line up with the "clips" on the audio track. Last, students listened to several "loops" or "songs" in the vast array of songs that come with Garageband. They dragged an appropriate sounding loop to another track, and stretched it out. I showed them how to "cut" off any extra audio and fade out the end. Then they exported the complete podcast and uploaded it to a page they created on a wiki. You can view the podcasts by clicking to the link at the left.

Writing a song: Student teacher (Mr. Meeker), music teacher (Miss Grager), and I worked together to help the students write their own songs using Garageband. The program contains many different genres of musical "loops" that can be linked together to make a song. Some are loops of a single instrument that add complexity to the song. The students loved this activity and with the musical expertise of the teachers, they were able to create varied and pleasant sounding pieces! They learned which types of instruments to put together, and how to begin and end a song. They already knew how to change the volume, fading in and out, from our work on the podcasts. You can listen to their songs, which they uploaded to a wiki by clicking on the link:

Database: We have recently begun learning about databases, using AppleWorks' database. Microsoft Access has a database program called Access, but they don't make it in a "Mac version". Our first database will be on student information. Students will learn how to make fields that are text, radio buttons, and drop-down menus. They'll add information to the records in their databases. Then they'll change the layout of the records, sort, find information from within the database, and create new layouts of only certain fields of information. Last, they will open a document and do a mail merge, to create a funny personalized letter for mass mailing.

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Quarter 4

SKILLS: Creating Posters about Online Safety / Digital Citizenship

Creating posters in Word- I taught students about good poster design using some examples of posters I found online about online safety and digital citizenship. Students watched videos on my Online Safety wiki about bullying, online privacy, being careful what you post or do online, etc. Then they chose a topic and used the camera on the computer to take a picture of themselves or their friends to use for the poster. They were to create a catchy slogan, add a picture, and use sub-topics or phrases to give details of their message. Everyone got to print out their posters which I posted around the middle school. A few had time to post them online as well. To put the posters online, I had them use "Grab" to do a screen shot of their poster, then save it as an image and upload it to a wiki page. You can view them by going to this link:

Online Cookbook - The students added pictures to their recipes and even personal notes about the origin of the recipe if it was a family recipe. This will be a useful resource for others who are looking for some good recipes! It makes students put more effort into something when they know others are going to see it and use it.
You can see the baking cookbook by clicking HERE!

Scratch Programming
Scratch is a free programming application that can be downloaded from the Internet for macs or pc's. I have used it in my Challenge classes. You can do simple programming and animation with it, but you can also use it to create very complex video games. It's a great introduction to programming for students and they love it! This is a great activity for students in the summer! I didn't have much time to work with it. I'm hoping to do more with it next year, although we also do animation, video editing, Garageband in 7th grade. I wanted to get the students excited about the program at the start, so I had them get right in and copy a simple "pong' type video game. We could only cover a bit of the thinking behind the programming, but students were able to still be creative and learn a couple commands to make a paddle hit a ball and make the game be over if the ball hit the bottom of the screen. Some of my Challenge students who have used the program before taught the class how to make it keep score!

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