Shown below is an example of a Connect 4 game I recently made.
Most of my students had this game built and ready to play by the end of their class period.
The game is initially built in Google Drawings. Students begin with a circle, duplicate it repeatedly, and then click on Arrange on the menu bar to distribute the circles horizontally and evenly. The game board has 42 circles altogether: 7 across, 6 down.
Once the game board is complete, it is saved as a png file and then uploaded to Google Slides as a background image, which prevents players from accidentally deleting the game board during play. Once in Slides, students create playing pieces for themselves and an opponent. The game is then shared with a friend and play begins. Students can use Ctrl + Alt + M to bring up a comment box to “trash talk” their opponents, letting them know when a move has been made and to let them know who is going to be victorious. The game can be played synchronously or asynchronously.
Over the past few weeks, students in grades 2-6 have used Google Slides to create artwork for Dot Day, which is celebrated around September 15th-ish. Working with Google Slides requires students to log into their computer, navigate to Google Classroom, select the correct class (computer lab), and then scroll to reach and open their assignment. When their project is completed, students go to their file menu and download their slide as a png (portable network graphic). Once downloaded to their computer, students open a second tab and navigate to a collaborative digital canvas at Padlet. This helps students practice working with two web pages at once and an opportunity to bookmark the site. Students use Padlet’s add button to upload their image and add text. This gives students an opportunity to practice their digital citizenships skills and a chance to use technology tools to enhance their learning. Many students continue to use Slides for their own art, polishing their production skills. The video shown below highlights many of the skills used.
September 15th is International Dot Day. You probably didn’t know that? I discovered this last year and am ready to embark on another dot day celebration in the CRES computer lab. So, what’s it all about? Well, activities center around the book, The Dot. A humble title, yes, but the message is big: don’t be afraid to try. The subject of The Dot is a young student named Vashti, who becomes artistically confident after her teacher frames the simple dot Vashti had drawn on paper. When Vashti sees her work framed the next day, it emboldens her. With her new found confidence, she completes numerous “masterpieces” and has a gallery showing. Vashti soon becomes an inspiration to others.
During the month of September, many CRES students, grades 2-6, will create dot art using Google Slides. The project will be delivered through Google Classroom. Each student will open their assignment in Google Slides and use a number of drawing tools to create their unique piece of circular art. When completed, students will upload their art to our Padlet canvas and share their masterpieces in celebration.
The digital canvas shown below is currently awaiting the addition of student art. Stay tuned! At the very bottom of this post, you can view a video sampling of student art from 2017.
This summer I started following Alice Keeler on Twitter. Her blog, Teacher Tech, is always loaded with great ideas. I recently came across her tweet to her blog post: Play Connect 4 Asynchronously. The basic game is made in Google Drawings because it offers the distribute tool, which is unavailable in Slides. The distribute tool is used to quickly organize and space the circles, which become openings in the “gameboard”. After the game is made, it’s downloaded as a png and uploaded to Google Slides as a background to prevent players from accidentally deleting it. With the background complete, I then created the game pieces in Slides. These are the only objects easily moved on the screen. I kept my page setup in Drawings the same for Google Slides; otherwise, the board and pieces looked distorted.
Connect 4 made in Google Drawings, downloaded as a png file.
Connect 4 shown in Google Slides with player pieces