Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sweet Ideas for Valentine's Day Tech

Something we often take for granted is how much kids care about holidays. While most folks probably stopped caring about things like Valentine's Day years ago -- your students still think it's a big deal! Why would you throw this engagement opportunity away??? Instead, let's use it to catch our students' attention and trick them into learning a few things while we're at it! Read on to check out four "sweet ideas" for integrating tech this Valentine's Day.

1. Culture Reports

Something most holidays are useful for is a good old fashioned research project. You might be surprised to find that while most of the world celebrates Valentine's Day in some way, many cultures do it in different ways and for different reasons. Have your students check out some articles and then report back to the class how different cultures clash on their celebration of the day. Here are some articles I have used in the past:
There are tons more articles like this on the net. Have students do a share out on something like Padlet, have them compare and contrast with a mind map on Coggle, or have them create a screencast where they discuss as a news report or podcast. 

2. Historical/Literary Reenactments

You know, where might not be a more appropriate or acceptable time to discuss the great love stories that have occurred throughout time than on Valentine's Day. I mean, can you considered how you might reimagine the love story of Mark Antony and Cleopatra? Pop 'em into Blabberize and have your students relate the historical love of the tortured couple in their own words. 

Want to make it literary? You can do the same thing with Romeo and Juliet, Katherine and Heathcliff, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy -- I mean there are tons of directions you can go with this one.

Or just have students come up with their own love stories. The written expression of love isn't for everyone, but if that's what a kid wants to write, let them script out the love story and design their own characters. Even more creative!

You can even get the little ones involved with ABCYa's Talkify app. Talking pictures have never been so fun!

3. eCard Publishing

Another direction you might go is with some traditional writing and composition projects. Poetry is an easy route here. Read Write Think has a nice themed poem designer for Valentine's Day. It structures the prewriting and the drafting right in the app -- it would work for primary on up for most grades, although it might seem juvenile for older learners. 

Festisite is another similar tool that provides the structure while the student provides the words. The heart template will serve the needs of most for a Valentine's Day creation. A lot of fun for students of all ages.

Of course, if you want to make the creation a bit more authentic, you might have students create their own ecards rather than using these auto designing publishers. Piccollage is a way for students to use their own pictures to create ecards. Canva is a great desktop publishing tool on the web where students will have a number of tools at their disposal to create very slick, professional looking cards, depending on the time and effort they want to put into it. Another option would be a create a Google Slides template for students to copy and edit to their own liking. Saving a slide as a PDF is just another way of publishing your own ecard.

4. Video Projects

Video is always my go to for creation tasks -- if we can make a project that ends with a video, that's usually pretty fun and engaging for our students. Adobe Spark Videos are quick, easy, and allow for pretty simple customizations. A great way to create a video card for students if they want to really impress their friends or family. 

Sorry for the hacky, schmaltzy video -- quick and easy 😁.

Valentine's Day clearly gives you a lot of options for student creation tasks. Depending on what you want to do with it, there is a great variety of what your students can end up with. When it comes down to it, as long as you are giving your students a chance to create something and show it to the world, you can't go wrong.

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