Why the Humble Sandwich Should Be Your Next Graphic Design Project

Ask anyone what their favourite sandwich is, and I’m willing to bet they’ll have an answer for you. “What does this have to do with Graphic Design?” you may well ask. Stay with me, people!

While browsing my Instagram feed, I came across this beautiful post by the good folk at Dschwen Design Studio:

Those who know me, will know just how excited I got by the brilliant simplicity of their Typographic Sandwich project – especially when I thought about the huge potential it has for introducing students to some Graphic Design basics, while learning a little bit about them in the process.

On the surface, one might think there is nothing much to this: after all, change a few words and colours, and you’re done. But there is so much to explore within these restrictions. In the words of interface designer Aza Raskin,

“Design is the beauty of turning constraints into advantages.”

Let me share some advantages with you.

EASY ACCESS
Almost everyone can think of a sandwich combination, even if it’s not a favourite. The entry points are such that students won’t be blocked by coming up with ideas. For EAL learners, options include the use of visuals (a quick search for their favourite sandwich can be done in any language), and/or the use of the child’s home language to create the finished product.

ACHIEVABLE
The Typographic Sandwich is an activity in which all students can achieve success. The font (Helvetica Bold) remains the same throughout. The devil is in the details – and that’s where the CARP design principles come in.

COMPLETE INTRODUCTION to CARP DESIGN PRINCIPLES
Contrast, Alignment, Repetition and Proximity all come into play here. For more insight into each principle, please check out Design Secrets Revealed.

Contrast – All words need to be easily read, meaning they need to stand out sufficiently from the background. A background colour needs to be selected so that every word is readable.

Alignment – This really is the area in which the bulk of the design challenge exists.
Secondary-Click > Align Objects > Left, brings all text boxes into the same alignment on the left.

Similarly, Secondary Click > Distribute Objects > Vertically, equally distributes objects vertically between the first and last object selected.

Repetition – exists here in the form of the font (Helvetica Bold) and the size of the text.

Proximity – the location/position of both the names of the people and the sandwich text are the same in each of the three examples. This is no accident. By selecting the sandwich words, and looking at the Arrange tab on the right, I can see the X position of each item is 281. I can select the items on the other slides and ensure they also have the same position, thus ensuring a cohesive overall feel to the presentation.

COLOUR MATCHING
Using the eye dropper tool in Keynote, students can match colours from images they have found of their perfect sandwich, or they can make an educated guess. Regardless, this is an excellent technique for students to learn.

PASTORAL CONNECTIONS
Connecting to the students in my classes and learning more about them has always been important to me as an educator. While preparing these examples for you, I asked the members of my Tech team to share their favourite sandwiches, and it gave me a unique insight into their likes and dislikes, and I learned a lot too! Karolis taught me that there IS a difference between Aoli (Italian) and Alioli (Spanish), and in his opinion, the latter was infinitely preferable. From Jorge, I learned about Arepas – something I had never come across in my travels thus far. What might this teach you about the students in your class? How might your interaction with them be strengthened as a result of this connection?

If you would like to share your examples with me, please feel free to add them to this collaborative Google Slides presentation. I simply exported my Keynote slides as images, and added them to the presentation.

Thinking Routines & the iPad

(Cross-posted at Greatechxpectations

The iPad is a great mobile device for recording students thinking on the go. When we combine the iPad, Harvard’s Artful Thinking Palette, Harvard’s Visible Thinking Routines and the free Voicethread app, a plethora of possibilities become available.

Sign in to Voicethread (NB, if your school has domain, as ours does, you can edit this on the sign in page).

I Used to Think, Now I Think

Used when students’ thoughts, opinions & ideas might change over the course of a unit. (Click here for more details)

Students could draw and screenshot a picture that represents their initial thinking in a unit. Bring the image into Voicethread and explain their thinking. Follow up by repeating the activity at the culmination of the unit, and add to their initial Voicethread.

See, Think, Wonder

Sets the stage for inquiry. Usually used at the beginning because it stimulates curiosity. (Click here for more details)

Using a pre-selected photo, or one they have taken, create a Voicethread with 3 slides (photo repeated 3 times). Add narration over each slide – one for ‘see’, one for ‘think’, and one for ‘wonder’.

Compass Points

Compass points helps you extend your thinking. (Click here for more details)

East = Excited. What are you excited about?
West = Worrisome. What worries you?
North = Need to know. What more information do you require?
South = Stance/Suggestion. What are your next steps?

Have students take 4 photos representing the four points for a given topic (e.g. current Unit of Inquiry). Create a new Voicethread and have students narrate over the top, explaining their selections.

Beginning, Middle & End

This routine develops observation and imagination. (Click here for more details)

Have the students look at pre-selected image. Get them to choose either Beginning, Middle or End.

Beginning – if this is the beginning of the story, what do you think might happen next?
Middle – if it this is the middle of a story, what might have happened before? What might be about to happen?
End – If this is the end of a story, what might the story be?

Create a Voicethread with the image, and have students explain their thoughts through a voice comment. 

Claim, Support, Question

This routine supports reasoning. (Click here for more details) This routine might be better suited to upper primary aged students.

Claim – Make a claim about the image/topic
Support – Identify support for your claim
Question – Ask a question related to your claim.

Using an image that represents your topic, add a voice comment for each section of this thinking routine. This may be 3 separate comments, or 3 slides with one comment on each.

Looking 10 x 2

Great for observation and descriptive skills. (Click here for more details)

Look at an image for 30 seconds. Try and list 10 words/phrases you see. Repeat these steps again, this time trying to list an additional 10 words/phrases you observe. Add the image to Voicethread and add two voice comments to the image.

Tips

You might like to consider purchasing a camera connection kit to transfer images directly from your SD card to the iPad.

Alternatively, you can email images you wish students to see to the email address set up on your iPad. The students can add the images to the Photo Gallery from there by holding one finger on the image, then selecting save to Photo Gallery.

________________________________________________________________________

Credits
Magnifying Glass ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Lanzen
Compass ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Roland Urbanek
Cuff Links ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Oberazzi
Pale Blue 10 ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Caro’s Lines

Thinking Routines & the iPad

(Cross-posted at Greatechxpectations

The iPad is a great mobile device for recording students thinking on the go. When we combine the iPad, Harvard’s Artful Thinking Palette, Harvard’s Visible Thinking Routines and the free Voicethread app, a plethora of possibilities become available.

Sign in to Voicethread (NB, if your school has domain, as ours does, you can edit this on the sign in page).

I Used to Think, Now I Think

Used when students’ thoughts, opinions & ideas might change over the course of a unit. (Click here for more details)

Students could draw and screenshot a picture that represents their initial thinking in a unit. Bring the image into Voicethread and explain their thinking. Follow up by repeating the activity at the culmination of the unit, and add to their initial Voicethread.

See, Think, Wonder

Sets the stage for inquiry. Usually used at the beginning because it stimulates curiosity. (Click here for more details)

Using a pre-selected photo, or one they have taken, create a Voicethread with 3 slides (photo repeated 3 times). Add narration over each slide – one for ‘see’, one for ‘think’, and one for ‘wonder’.

Compass Points

Compass points helps you extend your thinking. (Click here for more details)

East = Excited. What are you excited about?
West = Worrisome. What worries you?
North = Need to know. What more information do you require?
South = Stance/Suggestion. What are your next steps?

Have students take 4 photos representing the four points for a given topic (e.g. current Unit of Inquiry). Create a new Voicethread and have students narrate over the top, explaining their selections.

Beginning, Middle & End

This routine develops observation and imagination. (Click here for more details)

Have the students look at pre-selected image. Get them to choose either Beginning, Middle or End.

Beginning – if this is the beginning of the story, what do you think might happen next?
Middle – if it this is the middle of a story, what might have happened before? What might be about to happen?
End – If this is the end of a story, what might the story be?

Create a Voicethread with the image, and have students explain their thoughts through a voice comment. 

Claim, Support, Question

This routine supports reasoning. (Click here for more details) This routine might be better suited to upper primary aged students.

Claim – Make a claim about the image/topic
Support – Identify support for your claim
Question – Ask a question related to your claim.

Using an image that represents your topic, add a voice comment for each section of this thinking routine. This may be 3 separate comments, or 3 slides with one comment on each.

Looking 10 x 2

Great for observation and descriptive skills. (Click here for more details)

Look at an image for 30 seconds. Try and list 10 words/phrases you see. Repeat these steps again, this time trying to list an additional 10 words/phrases you observe. Add the image to Voicethread and add two voice comments to the image.

Tips

You might like to consider purchasing a camera connection kit to transfer images directly from your SD card to the iPad.

Alternatively, you can email images you wish students to see to the email address set up on your iPad. The students can add the images to the Photo Gallery from there by holding one finger on the image, then selecting save to Photo Gallery.

________________________________________________________________________

Credits
Magnifying Glass ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Lanzen
Compass ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Roland Urbanek
Cuff Links ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Oberazzi
Pale Blue 10 ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Caro’s Lines

Camera+ makes photos on 3GS iPhone look great!

I know that I have mentioned Camera+ before as a great app for photos on your iPhone, but I feel I need to provide some before and after examples to really show the functionality of this amazing app.

I use Camera+ to edit any photo I want to post online now – the quality of the images far exceeds the capability of my trusty old 3GS iPhone. I know a picture tells a thousand words, so here are a couple of before & after shots for comparison:

Camera+ makes photos on 3GS iPhone look great!

I know that I have mentioned Camera+ before as a great app for photos on your iPhone, but I feel I need to provide some before and after examples to really show the functionality of this amazing app.

I use Camera+ to edit any photo I want to post online now – the quality of the images far exceeds the capability of my trusty old 3GS iPhone. I know a picture tells a thousand words, so here are a couple of before & after shots for comparison:

Upside-down: Get a different perspective

When I was at Teachers’ College, I remember approaching my art course with trepidation. I wasn’t too shabby at art as a child, but as I had effectively given up the subject at the ripe old age of 13, it would be fair to say I wasn’t what you’d call confident!

One of the first things I remember our 2 lecturers getting us to do, was to sketch FAST (in 15 mins) the line drawing they put on the Overhead Projector (remember those?). The thing is, they put the drawing on upside-down. Deliberately.

The drawing was clearly beyond me, but as I’ve always been a good student, I duly attempted to copy it as best I could.

When our 15 mins was up, we were told to turn our drawings the right way up, and I think 99% of the students were amazed at having done a lot better than they anticipated. When the drawing was upside-down, we had to keep looking up to check we were putting the lines in the right places, not just guess from our prior knowledge of the subject.

It reminds me that our perception of our own abilities (or lack thereof) can sometimes affect the quality of our performance. If we look at something from another perspective, we might just surprise ourselves.

For my Extra Curricular Activity with the iPads,  I found an image online that was upside-down, and had my students do the same thing, but using Brushes on the iPad.

Here are two students’ representations of the illustration above. I will include them both upside-down and right-side-up for comparison.

Michelle, in Grade 6 did this one:

Michelle 1

Ji Min in Grade 5 did this one:

JiMin1

I’m pretty proud of both them!

Newspaper Blackout Poetry on the iPad

I know I’m a little late to the party, but I only just discovered Austin Kleon and his Newspaper Blackout Poetry. [I came across him by way of his excellent post; How to Steal Like an Artist (and 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me) – a definite must-read.]

Following the various links, I found a post that shows how he used the iPad to create a newspaper blackout poem. As I am in the middle of a Poetry unit with my Grade 6 students, I felt I had to try it!

Here is my first attempt. In case the image is too small for you to read, I will reproduce the text below.

IMG_0019

Responsibility:
Designed, measured, standardised.
An entire briefcase
And half teeth.
Foam,
Of unknown origin,
Drinking Mermaid’s Tears.

Screen shot 2011-04-25 at AM 11.03.38I started off by finding an article in one of my news apps (in this case, the NZ Herald), and taking a screenshot of it.

I then imported the screenshot into Brushes. The important step to note is to add a layer, so that you can delete that layer if you make a mistake, rather than deleting the whole image and having to start from scratch.

I experimented with brushtypes etc, and you can see how I went about doing it below:

Have a go! You’ll love it!