Hockney-inspired Self Portraits

May 11, 2010

Bents Green Secondary Community Special School year 9 art classes have been spending Friday afternoons at the CLC to work on David Hockney-inspired portraits. The pupils have been looking at Hockney’s photo collages (examples here), in particular those of his mother. They then came to the CLC to create their own versions using photographs of themselves.

As a starter activity they used the fantastic Hockneyizer tool at Big Huge Labs to create automated collages of famous people. You upload a single image and the tool turns it into a Polaroid collage – you can see an example of the CLC on the right.

The students then took photographs of each other and uploaded them to the computers. To create their collages we initially used Photoshop Elements to edit the photos, add frames and arrange them, but this was quite tricky to do.

With later groups I directed them to Picnik, a very simple free online editing website. Here they could crop their images to focus on a particular feature, add frames, effects and change the colours if they wished. They then added all the edited images to PowerPoint, to arrange them for the final picture. I suggested PowerPoint as it is very easy to manipulate images on a slide, and the whole project is one that can be repeated back at school without the need for expensive software or expert knowledge.

Newfield Transition Days

March 19, 2010

Six of the feeder schools to Newfield  sent their year 6 classes to the CLC preparing them for transition to secondary school. Each group participated in three activities during the day:

1. A GPS walk around the school, using a GPS logger (see post about it here) to record the route they took. The pupils took photos of the school site on their journey and back at the CLC they used www.picnik.com to edit them. They added text on the images according to what they had learnt on the walk around the school. These were added to the GPS trail, and posted on the internet. We then viewed the finished trail and talked about some of the statistics, such as how far we had travelled, what altitude meant etc. For an example click here.
Initially I’d thought about the students annotating the photos in the a-trip software that comes with the GPS loggers, but this soon showed itself to be impractical, as the track would have to uploaded to every PC individually. Having them annotate in Picnik was much easier and gave me time to upload the track.

2. Ghastlies drama filming – in small groups the pupils scripted, rehearsed and then filmed a short role play about any worries they might have about moving up to secondary school, e.g being bullied, and how they might resolve these issues.

3. Friendship presentations – the pupils wrote about their friends and how their relationships might change as they move schools, using PowerPoint (we wanted to use Glogster, but this is still running slowly through our broadband provider). They added photos of themselves and their friends in the class, plus Wordles of keywords about friendship.

All the students had a great time during the day, and we received some very positive comments from staff and pupils. One pupil who admitted she had been scared about going to Newfield said she now couldn’t wait!

Updated 29/03/10


French Colours and Numbers Photostories

February 3, 2010

A year 4 class from Woodseats Primary School spent the afternoon at the CLC yesterday. The aim was to practise the numbers and colours in French whilst learning some new ICT skills.  Originally we thought of creating animations, but with such a short space of time I decided that using Microsoft’s Photostory would be more successful.

I sourced a number of photographs using Flickr, searching using the Creative Commons licence. These were either colouful objects and animals (mainly cognates, e.g. tigre), or a number of items in your school bag (e.g. 2 rulers). We practised the numbers and colours as a whole class, and showed them how to use Photostory. They then chose to do the numbers or colours Photostory, and added French text to each photo. They could choose to add the word for the colour or number, or write a simple sentence with support from a vocabulary list, e.g. la banane est jaune.

Whilst they were working I took groups out to record the colours and numbers using an mp3 recorder, and the audio was then added to the Photostories.

The class teacher said, “Thank you very much for this afternoon’s work.  My class loved it!  They got so much out of the afternoon’s experience.  I have told the children we are going to use our animations as part of our next class assembly.

(Photos from Flickr.com by:

.stocker, Yea I Knit, Louisa Catlover, looseends, someToast, Timothy K Hamilton, fernando, roarpett, digitalART2, ~ Panache, Damon Green, Jason Gulledge, santoshnc)

Investigating Materials

February 2, 2010

Two year 2 classes from Lowedges visited the CLC this half term to build on their knowledge of materials. They began by learning how to use our Canon Ixus digital cameras in pairs, then taking photographs of a number of items in our Creative Space. These included a metal step ladder, plastic jug, plasticine people, cardboard boxes and some wooden drumsticks. We then discussed what materials each thing was made out of and what its characteristics were, for example soft, shiny, transparent.

Using Comic Life on the PCs, they used their photos to create a poster on materials, including what the object was made out of and an adjective to describe it. We only had a morning to complete the whole task, and if we’d had more time I would have liked to have shown them how to edit the photos at http://www.picnik.com. As it was they really enjoyed the session, particularly taking the photos, and reinforced what they had learnt at school on the topic.

Heritage Park – Digital Story Telling

December 3, 2008

Sheffield FloodTwo groups of students from Heritage Park have been writing and illustrating short stories at the CLC over the past few weeks, using 3 different bits of software. They began using Kar2ouche – this software contains a number of titles, from Creative Writing to Egyptians. In each one there are a number of backgrounds, characters and props that pupils drag onto the stage to create scenes. They can add speech/thought bubbles and text boxes to tell the story. Once finished, they can save the story as a movie file, or print it out. This s quite expensive software, but it proved to be very motivating for the students.

The second piece of software was Comic Life, which I have written about previously here. The students sourced photos from the internet, and took extras using digital cameras. They could then add these to their own comic strip and add dialogue. This software is relatively cheap, and can be used for so many different projects.

The final software we used was Photostory, which is free! Students uploaded photos on a particular subject, and added effects, transitions, movement, text and a soundtrack. Finally they published the story to play as a Windows Media file.

All three pieces of software were excellent for engaging the students, regardless of their level. They were easy to use, and the final outcomes were very successful. They are ideal packages for working on literacy skills across all age groups and abilities, and the content can be relevant to their interests.

Image manipulation and fun stuff with photos

October 16, 2007

You no longer need to buy expensive photo editing software to do creative things with your images. Go to the following sites instead:


This is a very simple site. Upload your image to the page and you can resize, crop, add text and add a number of effects, then save back to your documents.


You need to sign in (which is free) to this site. It does similar things to Wiredness, but you can also add speech bubbles, merge photos and add a few more effects.

fd’s Flickr ToysWarholizer

This site has a large number of ideas for things to do with your images, for example:

1. Make a calendar.
2. Use the Warholizer.
3. Create trading cards.
4. Create a Hockney-inspired photo montage.
5. Make your own magazine cover.