Category Archives: Art

2014 Winners Announced

It was a very exciting morning for book lovers and book nerds alike.   Awards were announced for the 2014 best in children’ s literature. And though some of my predictions didn’t come through, I did pick a winner.

Congratulations to the 2014 Winners!

Newbery Medal Winner
Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo  (picked this as the possible winner. just saying)

Newbery Honor Winners
One Came Home by Amy Timberlake
Doll Bones by Holly Black
The Paperboy by Vince Vawter
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

Caldecott Medal Winner
Locomotive by Brian Floca

Coretta Scott Kind Award Winner
P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia

Schneider Family Award Winners
Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell (for middle school readers ages 11-13)
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (for teens)

Printz Award Winner
Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick


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Filed under Art, Awards, Books, Reading

Open up the World of Culture

Sure students know who Vincent Van Gogh, E.B. White, and Roald Dahl are.  But what do they know about contemporary authors, and artists? Well now they can learn.  Culture Street is a organization that is based out of the UK that is determined to introduce students to contemporary artists, writers, filmmakers,  and performers.   Culture Street’s goal is to encourage creativity in the classroom…and beyond.

With four distinct channels to learn from (Arts, Film, Books, Stage)  students will have the opportunity to view videos, listen to interviews, have access to  interactive activities and watch workshops for better understanding of how professionals work.

The book channel (a personal favorite of mine) allows the user to create their own picture book, and comic book.  You must be a registered member to access many of the elements on the site so parents should be involved. Teachers have the opportunity to pre-made lessons and tie-ins to current learning trends to help integrate the arts into everyday subjects.  Even though the organization is based out to the UK, foreign educators and parents should not shy away from this fun rewarding activity.  Thank your



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Filed under Art, Books, Cartoons, Creativity, Digital Story Telling, Reading

Wanna see a good movie…read the book

Do not get me wrong, I love the movies.   Really.  I do.  I love everything about them.  But I must say that when Hollywood gets its hands on  a book, tends run into difficulties.  Some cases being the mere size of the work (ex. Anna Karenina), or maybe the subject (ex. The Road), or more often than not the extremely strong fan base attached to the work and want to see these epic features (ex. The Watchmen).   However, it is in these cases we forgive, for they took a chance of bringing meaningful works to the big screen, which is truly not an easy feat, since one must stay true to the original work, but also condense said work into a 2 hour feature.  Some have the potential to bring to life the characters on the page with great success (ex. A Clockwork Orange; To Kill a Mockingbird); while others are viewed as good even though they still didn’t quite measure up ( ex. A Time to Kill)

But  for every good case of book to movie, there have been bad, no horrific ones.  Hollywood tends to take several liberties that skew away from the original material.  I give you The Scarlet Letter starring Demi Moore and Gary Oldman as a prime example.  I love Gary (paging Sirius Black) and Demi Moore has had her fair share of good roles.  But my goodness, what happened in this movie would have Hawthorne  rolling over in his grave.  Why do I use this as my example, well lets see: THEY CHANGED THE ENDING!  That should be reason enough. What makes it even more astounding is that they felt the need to change the ending because they believed that not many people read the book so they wouldn’t know the difference.  Well I read the book. I saw the difference. And so did most of America.

But I digress.   I speak to you today as a reader and a movie watcher. And one who takes both roles seriously.  So when books become movies, I start to get anxious.  My mind races with “Who are they casting and are they a good fit?” ” Are they planning on removing/adding anything to the movie that was/was not in the book?”  “How are they going to shoot some of these scenes, or are they going to rely on CGI effects?”  So when I heard about the following books that are coming out or currently in the works I became both excited and nervous.  So hopefully the screen versions will live up to their written counterparts.  I am looking forward to seeing them, but remember, for every Hunger Games there is an Bonfire of the Vanities.

1) Ender’s Game




2) The Book Thief



the book thief







3) The Wolf of Wall Street







4) Gone Girl











5) Blue is the Warmest Color

blue is the warmest color

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Filed under Art, Books, Movie

Get in Touch with Your Creative Side

Another day and another way to express yourself.  So this time I would like to introduce some apps that provide the opportunity to get creative.  Similar to my post about the app Paper these apps allow you to create amazing images and videos. Now remember all of these apps can be used for school based projects.  Some might work for the educator while some might be more fun for the student. But don’t forget, all are fun for everyone!


TYPE DRAWING  for the web and iOS $1.99

This app is amazing for typography.  All you do is type the sentence you would like to use and then by using your finger or mouse to draw an image and the words from your sentence becomes the body of the image or use the text to go over current images.



OVER for iOS

Everyone knows a picture is worth 1,000 words, but sometimes only a few will do. Now a great way to enhance your images is with the app Over.  Over allows you choose from different fonts and type what you would like to say anywhere over the image.




STEfor iOS $1.99

I can not tell you how much I am in love with this app! I can devote a all blog post to just this but I would simply keep repeating myself with this one phrase: THIS APP IS AWESOME!!!  This app makes it easy to create amazing animated GIFs and Quicktime movies.  You get full control of everything from the frame rate, to deletion of images, to exposure and timer settings.  This is a great app for students to use to create amazing stop motion videos.




iSTOPMOTION for iPAD  $9.99
Another create stop motion app that was the winner for the Macworld Best in Show 2013.  This app is used in hundreds of classrooms and allows you to create your own animated movies.





WHAT THE FONT for the web iOS and coming soon for the Android  Free
Did you ever see a font used in media, like say a magazine, a website, and ad or even a poster, and did you ever say wow I really like that I wonder what font that is?  Well wonder no more. Simply take a picture of the font in question, and by uploading it from your photos What the Font will give you the details.  Like many barcode scanners for your phones, the technology can read the image and provide you with the information about the font in question. This is perfect for designers who might see a particularly interesting font and wonder how they can get that.


images-2LUME for iOS  $1.99

The first light only drawing app out there.  Instead of using paint or pencil, use light to draw images, text or enhance already taken photos.  A great way to make a photo stand out.  Just think what one can do with this app if you want to enhance an image of Thomas Edison?

unnamedCINEMAGRAM for iOS and Android Free

So lets say you have picture saved as a GIF, and you want to add a little animation to it. Well how about picking and choosing which part of the image you animate.  Similar to instragram but you are using video instead. Buy using the different features you can freeze certain parts of the image while the rest stays animated. Its definitely worth a look.



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Filed under apps, Art, Creativity, Images, Movie, Presentation, Technology, Video

Apps for Summer Learning (Part 3)

So I have shown you apps for all of the core subject areas…but what about the creative end?  Here are some great apps to help foster the creative power of the students all summer long.

drawing carlDrawing Carl  for iOS $1.99
Probably the best drawing app out there for kids, designed by Tayasui this app allows for kids to create beautiful drawings with easy to use tools such as painting and stamping.  Kids will enjoy playing with stickers that can talk, decorating  pictures uploaded from their photo libraries, and sharing their creations through Facebook  and the Drawing Carl website; where they can vote on the best ones.  This is a fun app to keep those creative brains going and to stop them from drawing all over your walls.

momaMoMA Art Lab  for iOS $2.99
Young artists for grades 2 and up can explore how the great modern artists use shapes, lines, and color and create their own artwork inspired by the MoMA exhibits.  Some of the artists featured are Henry Matisse, Jean Arp, and Elizabeth Murray.  This is a great app for families to learn about art, discover artists and their techniques, find inspiration, and even create a group picture.  This is an app that parents might be fighting their kids for.

musicMusic Tutor  for iOS and Android Free or $0.99 (depending on the version)
Kids can practice their music skills with short quizzes (1 to 10 minutes) that focus on pitch identification, and sight-reading skills.  Practice between treble, base or both to enhance your musical ear.


pianoViruoso Piano  for iOS Free
The best app to teach basic keyboard skills. The app has several unique features such as duet mode (for iPads only), key labels, the ability to play with your musical library, and  play wirelessly from your device to your Apple TV.  Also the app allows you to choose between two types of pianos,  a classic grand concert piano and the broken one you will find in a run down pub.


urlLet’s Create Pottery  for iOS and Android $4.99
Creating ceramics just got a whole lot cleaner! Now adults and kids can create one-of-a-kind pottery without getting messy.  Spin the clay on the wheel, shape and mold your pottery using some of the dozen of materials available to express your inner artist.  Glazing and firing it off in the kiln was never easier.  This app not only allows for the creative mind to flourish but also has a calming effect over the users.

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Filed under apps, Art, Creativity, Images, Music, Technology

Introducing PAPER

urlHonored as 2012 app of the year from Apple, Paper is an easy to use tool to create some of the most stunning pictures on the iPad. Capture your ideas as drawings, sketches, diagrams, illustrations or notes and easily share them across the web through several social networks. The download is free and you receive the standard drawing tool, but you can purchase additional drawing utensils in the app store for $1.99 each.  This is an amazing app the has endless possibilities for any creative mind.

Check our the video for a peek and what you can do.

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Filed under apps, Art, Creativity, Presentation, Technology