Sunday, February 11, 2018

3 Googley Valentines Activities for Kids

With Valentine's Day coming up, this is a great time to highlight some activities I really love! In this case I am talking about technology activities for students that tie into the holiday theme while also promoting creativity and writing.

I this blog post I will be sharing three Valentine-themed projects that use Google tools. Two of them are ideas I have shared in the past, and one of them is new twist on an old idea for this post. Hopefully you find all of them to be fun ways to engage your students, while working on practical skills.

See below for a description of each activity, access to all the templates, and links to the original blog posts for the projects I am re-sharing. Hope you love them!

Activity #1 - Valentine Emoji Rebus Stories

A fun writing activity for students is to use emojis in Google Docs to write a Valentine-themed rebus. Anyone who grew up reading Highlights magazine in the dentist waiting room will quickly recognize a rebus. Basically it is a story where some of the words are replaced by images. This can be a fun activity for students, both to create and to read. It may even help with younger students who are not proficient at spelling but can choose the image for the word they want. Here's how:

  • Make a copy of the Google Docs "Valentine Rebus Story" template - Google Docs template
  • Write a story that uses text, but also with images in place of key words.
  • For the images, use the emojis that are included with Google Docs.
  • You can copy and paste emojis from the sample emoji bank provided at the top of the document.
  • Or you can add any emoji of your choice by clicking "Insert" then "Special characters" then "Emoji", where you can then browse, draw, or type in a search term to find the emoji you want.

For more details and  directions about using emojis in Docs, see my original post about this project, which can be found here:

Note: Emojis appear differently on different operating systems. Because of this, the images may not look the same on every device. If you are using any modern computer or device (Chromebook, Android, iOS, Mac OS, Windows), the emojis should display well. However if you are using an older version of Windows earlier than Windows 8.1, the emojis do not appear in color and many may be missing.

Activity #2 - Valentine Magnetic Poetry with Google Drawings

This is a fun activity I have shared in the past. In this one, students create a Valentine-themed poem by dragging and dropping words onto a canvas, much like the magnetic poetry kits you can use. Here's how student do this project:

  • Make a copy of the Google Drawings "Valentine Magnetic Poetry" template - Google Drawing template
  • In the middle of the template is the canvas where the students will add the words for their poem, story, or creative writing piece.
  • On the left side of the template are 100 standard (non-themed) words in alphabetical order.
  • On the right side of the template are the 79 Valentine-themed words in alphabetical order.

  • Drag and drop words from the left and right sides onto the middle work area. Drag around the words as needed to place them where you want.
  • If you need more than one copy of a word, simply copy and paste it. 
  • If you need to edit an existing word, just double-click inside the text box and make the changes you want.
  • If you want to add your own words, double-click inside of any of the blank text boxes and type in the word you want.
  • When done you can share or download your creation (click "File" then "Download" then "PNG image")

For more details, directions, and a short tutorial video, see my original post about this project, which can be found here:

Activity #3 - Valentine Cards with Google Drawings

Although G Suite does not provide a traditional desktop publishing tool, Google Drawings can actually be a great option for some basic projects such as posters, brochures, and even greeting cards. With Valentine's Day close at hand, students could make cards for their parents, friends, teachers, or other folks in their lives. Here's how:

  • Make a copy of one of the Google Drawing "Greeting Card" templates
  • There is a "Portrait Orientation" version - Google Drawings template
  • And there is a "Horizontal Orientation" version - Google Drawings template
  • The templates have been designed with four sections: the outside front, the outside back, the inside left, and the inside right (or inside top and bottom for the landscape version)

  • Edit the text by double-clicking inside the text boxes (be sure to also pick fun fonts and colors)
  • Insert images into any of the four sections of the greeting card template.
  • When done you may need to flip some of the sections so they print properly. Follow the directions in each template as needed (Click "Arrange" then "Rotate" then "Flip Vertically")
  • Finally print and fold your completed Valentine's Day card.

For more details, directions, and a short tutorial video, see my original post about this project, which can be found here:
  • How Your Students can use Google Drawings to Create Greeting Cards - Blog post link

Post by Eric Curts
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