Finish/Starting Line

Today I graduated from my Administrative Credential Program after 9 months of every other Saturday, weekly online chats, countless papers, and countless hours spent on my leadership project.

Before a small panel of educational leaders, I presented my leadership project as the final requirement of the program. Then, I had an hour between when I finished my presentation and the ceremony. What did I do during this hour? Since I just returned from CUE Rockstar Chico, I created a short Google Drawing and YouTube animation while I waited. I imagine this is what any Rockstar would do, right? Actually, the creation process is quite therapeutic with its visual nature and routine nature of keystrokes. Just what I needed after a long week.

Even though this experience feels very much like crossing a finish line given the commitment and stamina it took over the last nine months, it really is a starting line. Besides the obvious credential I gained from the program that opens up more employment opportunities, the learning is really only just the beginning. The knowledge, skills, mindsets, and relationships I have gained through this experience serves as a foundation for leadership that provides a starting point in which to further my learning and growth.

Day 2 CUE Rockstar Chico Animations

Day 2 at CUE Rockstar offered more opportunities for creative expression using animation. Recently, I've been playing with creating animation and it was really nice to have dedicated time to explore and create today. In Corey Coble's session on 20% Time and STEAM we used Google Slides to create animation. I've used Google Slides with Drawings in the past to create animation but never created anything close to having 109 slides!! My previous methods were less than efficient. Prior to this session, I created Google Slides and then would screen cast the slides with me advancing through them to create the animation.  It worked ok especially when I was narrating the slides but you can hear the clicks in the background. There will be no more background clicks in my future. Corey showed us a much better way.   If there isn't a need for audio, the efficient method is to publish the Google slides and then change the URL at the end from the default "ms=3000" (or 3 seconds) to "ms=125" (or 0.125 second).  This is so much easier than creating a screencast!!  In the future if I need audio, I can still screencast the animated slides and then add narration in a video editing program. Amazing!

Speaking of editing programs, I spent the afternoon creating with Doug Robertson in his Adventures in YouTubery session. I entered the session wanting to play more with the photo slideshow feature thinking I could animate some sketchnotes. However, when I saw that you can place images in the YouTube editor, I shifted gears. Rather than taking pictures of images drawn using pen and paper I decided to use Google Drawing. I learned my lesson from the morning project that lacks balance and proportions because I didn't start with the end in mind first. This time, I sketched my ending scene on a post-it before starting my first Google Drawing. Only then, with a vision for my final product, did I create a new Google Drawing file.  First, I chose a custom canvas size (600 px x 450 px) and picked a background color and made sure the title name had a 1 in it.  Next, I made a copy of that file and changed file name from 1to 2 and added the circle for the sun.  Made a copy, changed file name from 2 to 3 and added a ray of sunshine, aka triangle.  I repeated this process until I had 23 Google Drawing files. I easily could have created more Google Drawings which would have led to smoother animation but it was only a 2 hour session! Then, I downloaded all creations as .jpg files (I think .png would provide better clarity for next time), uploaded the image files into the YouTube Video editor, inserted the images into the timeline (this is why using numbers in your naming conventions is so critical) and adjusted timing as desired.  Quickly, I added some music to the track and then published.  It's a lot of steps for 23 seconds of video but the final product looks cool for a first attempt. Moving forward, I can see myself applying this technique for different projects.

I look forward to playing with both of these animation options in the future, especially using YouTube as this particular option was very new to me and others.  I'll have to put this on my blog calendar for an upcoming post to include more step-by-step directions with accompanying visuals as I refine my technique and process with creating cartoons in YouTube using Google Drawing.

Day 1 CUE Rockstar Chico Perspectives

Day 1 of CUE Rockstar Chico provided several opportunities for creative expression. Brian Brigg's Photowalks session gave me the chance to view surroundings from different perspectives. I am so used to taking written text or auditory information and translating it into images. However, the process of taking visual information and piecing it together to create text or a story within a collage was a challenging exercise that I hope to continue to explore. In the end, my collage tells a story of different perspectives. In one image a seemingly impenetrable surface provides a pathway beyond what can be seen and possibly even imagine. Yet, in the other image there is no obvious pathway which when getting started or learning something new can be overwhelming. Depending on your perspective, things can be seen as barrier or a pathway that extends beyond what we can see. It's all a matter of perspective.

Perspective was a theme that emerged again for me during Kim Harrison's session on blogging. It took me a long time to begin this blog. Do I have time? What in the world would I blog about?  What if no one reads it? And it can be very scary to put your thoughts out into the world. These are some reasons that kept me from starting my blog for the longest time and still keeps me from maintaining any consistent blogging schedule. I realize that I have still been viewing blogging from an obstacle perspective rather than a limitless pathway. If I look at my obstacles or excuses from a growth mindset perspective as we did during the session today, consistent blogging can create more time by providing a means to clarify my thoughts. This reflective practice alone makes it worthwhile regardless if anyone reads it. Hitting publish remains uncomfortable but growth usually is.

The power of perspective to change one's outlook is enormous. Just like the cyclone fence that can be viewed as an enormous barrier, it can also be seen as a collection of openings that can be traveled through one at a time, rather than attempting to scale it all at once.  It's all a matter of perspective.

Digital Directed Draw: Ice Cream Cones

3 Cones in a Row
3 Cones in a Row
The weater is still quite warm so it had me thinking more about cool things. Building snowman isn't very realistic but eating ice cream is something totally cool to do. Drawing ice cream may be even better because it's zero calories!

This digital directed draw is a great starting point for those new to Google Drawing. It only uses two tools: triangle and cloud. Students will get practice with color fill, transparent line, and rotation. If your desired ice cream has mix-ins then there is an opportunity to try out some different tools. The possibilities are endless. The double scoop is by no means the limit. Students could create illustrations to support their reading of Shel Silverstein's Eighteen Flavors poem or any of his other many poems involving ice cream. Or, they could be inspired by Wayne Thiebaud and his ice cream paintings.

Here's the directions.

Do You Want to Draw a Snowman?

Do you want to draw a snowman?
This post was inspired by triple digit temperatures.  It reached 104 degrees yesterday. And since I couldn't build a snowman, the next best thing seemed like drawing one. It's no Frosty or Olaf but it will survive summertime.

This directed draw is a little bit simpler with only a few rotations and fills.  It provides opportunities to use four different tools: circle, triangle, chord, and squiggle.  There are plenty of opportunites for customization.  The additions of a hat, corncob pipe (or a mouth for starters), or a scarf would allow students to take this to the next level.

Here's my steps.


Digital Directed Draw: Banana Split

Banana Split
As someone who spent many years teaching in elementary classrooms, I enjoyed doing directed draws (or paints) with my students. One of my favorite directed paints was creating banana splits inspired by Wayne Thiebaud with students who were reponsible for mixing their own colors. I began to wonder what this might look like digitally? I searched for examples online and couldn't find anything so I thought I would try creating some.

Here's the steps I came up with on my first attempt.

This particular directed draw requires some more advanced skills using color fill, line color, layering and rotating objects which my directions do not include in detail. For those just getting started with digital directed draws, I see the need for simpler designs at first. Even though I think there is tremendous value for students to put pencil or brush to paper (I prefer sketchnoting on paper), I can see benefit of doing quick digital directed draw activities with students.  It would help build their skills of different features that they can apply in their own work as well as help them conceptualize and visualize everyday objects in layers of different shapes.

Google Drawing: Moving 1px at a time

This is a Google Drawing I did recently for a video animation project. I needed to exert a lot of control over placement to ensure that the school windows lined up and that the flag was representative. The "stars" (dots) and the "stripes" (scribbles) are quite small. Even with the canvas enlarged, using the cursor alone to position these items would not have allowed all the representative stars and stripes to end up on the actual flag canvas. Fortunately, within Google Drawing you have the ability to move objects 1 pixel at a time in any horizontal or vertical direction with no mouse or trackpad involved. This ability is incredibly helpful when working with small objects and especially with layered items. Once your object is selected, hold down the shift key and the desired arrow key for ultimate control over your Google Drawing creation.

Moving Objects 1px at a time
Try it out! What will you create using this shortcut?

Google Drawing: Duplicate Keyboard Shortcut

Duplicate an Image using Control (PC) or Option (Mac)
Lately, my favorite tool in Google Drive is Google Drawing. Google Drawing is often overlooked with so many great features and possibilities. So far, everything I've learned has been the hard way only to discover a much more efficient method later. In an effort to spare others from a similar learning experience and share the Google Drawing love, this is the first of what I hope is many tips and tricks.

Need to duplicate an object? Do you consider yourself efficient because you use Control+C and Control+V to copy and paste items? I did. The problem with cut and paste is that it uses an extra set of keystrokes and you still need to drag the object to its desired location. Or perhaps you're using Control+D to duplicate? This keyboard shortcut eliminates the extra keystroke of pasting the item but you're still = left dragging the object to it's desired location. What if you could do this in a single step? You can. Here's the simple solution.
1. Select object you desire to duplicate
2. Press the Control button (PC) or Option (Mac)
3. Drag a duplicate of your object to its desired location and release
Your Google Drawing Object is now in its desired location and you have saved some time and frustration. I find this option much more fluid and it's easier for kids to use and remember.