Learn computer science through Pixar and the Khan Academy

Finding Dory represents nearly thirty years of innovation and computer science.

Finding Dory represents nearly thirty years of innovation and computer science.

In 1995 Pixar reinvented animation as we know it when they released Toy Story.  Nowadays it is hard to find an animated film that is not built upon a digital animation process.

What many of us fail to understand is the marriage of art, science and technology required to bring these films to life.  There are some incredibly complex technical and artistic challenges which have spawned an industry to deal with making magic come to life through the use of computers in animation.

Pixar have partnered up with the Khan academy to produce a course that aims to introduce secondary students to the world of digital animation and let them use interactive online tools to deal with the challenges and solutions involved in this process of film making.

Whilst Pixar films are generally aimed at a younger audience I can guarantee you that most of the concepts dealt within this course are way beyond that of any elementary student.  This is really aimed at the tween audience with skills in the area of maths and computer science.

It is a shame there is not a simplified course for juniors but I will continue to live in hope...

Take a look at the course for yourself here,

Make your own Egg Carton Ladybug

Next time you finish a carton of eggs, put it aside for your next art and craft session with the kids. These cute little ladybug are easy tomake and are great attached to a mobile, used in imaginative play or asa party decoration.

What you will need...An Egg Carton, Craft Glue, Red Paint, Paint Brush, Scissors, BlackPermanent Marker, 2 x Googly Eyes, 1 x Black Pipe Cleaner, 1 x FluffyBlack BallTip...You can substitute the fluffy ball, pipe cleaners and goggly eyes with black and white paper for a look which is just as good.  Click here to see a photo!

Step One... Using your scissors carefully cut out an egg cup from your egg carton as shown

Step Two... Using your red paint, grab a paint brush and paint your egg cup

Step Three... Once dry, using your black permanent marker, draw black dots over the surface of the egg cup

Step Four... Using your craft glue stick the black fluffy ball to the painted egg cup to form the ladybug's head 

Step Five... Prepare your black pipe cleaner antlers by cutting two 2cm (1inch) pieces and bending them as shown

Step Six... Using your craft glue, stick the googly eyes and antlers on

Step Seven... you are finished!

I'd love to hear how you go with this...

20 fun ideas to bring Halloween to your classroom

Photo by Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte / Getty Images
Photo by Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte / Getty Images

Over the last fortnight we have been adding a number of resources to help teachers and students have some fun in the classroom with Halloween.  

Recently we have been compiling theme pages of resources for major events throughout the year and soon enough we will be putting all of our Christmas resources in a single place also.

The key word here is fun, but there is plenty of learning opportunities to take advantage of, especially around literacy art and craft.

So if you are looking for some fresh and simple ideas this spooky season be sure to check out our halloween resources here.

Simple to make Halloween Jack-o-Lantern Jars

The spooky season is almost upon us, and these Jack-O-Lantern Jars are a fantastic way to decorate your classroom for Halloween.  The kids will love customizing their own designs and watching them glow in the darkness of the night.  With a few simple materials you can add a special spooky glow to your Halloween night!

For additional Halloween craft ideas, check out the Halloween Express ultimate guide for Halloween crafts.

Another great idea from Belinda

What you will need...An assortment of jars, coloured tissue paper, PVA glue (or  a glue which will dry clear), a paint brush, scissors, black paper, tea lights or LED candles.

Step One...Choose one of your tissue paper colours and cut out some strips.  For the pumpkin jar I used about 8 strips (2 x 10cm).  Of course the amount needed will depend on the size of the jar.

Step Two...Grab your strips, jar, glue and paint brush and prepare to stick your tissue paper in place.

Step Three...Cover your jar with PVA glue, and start sticking your strips on, as you cover your jar you will need to continue to add glue to ensure the overlapped pieces stick.

Step Four...Once you have completely covered your jar with tissue paper coat with another layer of glue.  Tip...Be sure to only have one to two layers of tissue paper on your jar, too many layers and you will loose the glow effect.

Step Five...Take your black paper and cut out a design to fit your jar...be creative!

Step Six...Glue your black paper design onto your jar and apply another coat of glue over the top of the black paper to ensure it stays stuck down and to give it a shiny appearance.

Step Seven...Carefully insert your tea light or LED candle to see the full effect of your Halloween creation.  Remember to always treat fire with caution!

Create a crafty Halloween spider with your students out of egg cartons

Are you throwing a Halloween party in your classroom?  If so these spiders will be a great addition to the look and feel of your room and your students will find it fun and simple to create them.

Once again this activity has come from my crafty wife Belinda who regularly contributes to the site.


As these are so easy to make your students can make plenty of them in weird and wonderful colors to hang around the room in the least expected places for your guests to find.

What you will need...  An Egg Carton, Craft Glue, Black Paint, Paint Brush, Scissors, 2 x 5mm Googly Eyes, 2 x 15cm black pipe cleaners. Tip...You can substitute googly eyes with white paper, with a black dot for a look which is just as good.

Step One... Using your scissors carefully cut out an egg cup from your egg carton as shown.

Step Two... Using your black paint, grab a paint brush and paint your egg cup.

Step Three... While you are waiting for your egg cup to dry, cut your pipe cleaners into pieces and bend them over as shown to look like little legs. These legs are 3.5cm in length. Tip...Make sure there are no sharp ends.  Although not visible in this picture I have actually bent over the very tip of the wire slightly to create a rounded end. 

Step Four... Using your craft glue stick the legs onto your black egg cup as shown.

Step Five... Glue your googly eyes into position.

Make a simple paper bat for Halloween with your students

With Halloween just around the corner, why not try these fantastic bat decorations to spook up your classroom. 

This activity was created and put together by my lovely wife Belinda who contributes a great deal to the site.

They are quick, simple to create and look great.  They will definitely add a little spookiness to your house!

What you will need...Glue, Sticky Tape, a 19cm plate, a pen or pencil, scissors, black and white A4 paper.

Step One...Place your plate at the top center of your piece of black A4 paper and trace around it.

Step Two...Starting at the top of the piece of paper cut around your circle as shown, remember to keep the off cut, you will need this for the bat body.

Step Three...Fold your circle in half...along the folded straight edge cut out little half circles as shown to create the bottom of your bat wings. Tip...Make sure to cut the entire folded edge off so you are left with two separate wings as shown.

Step Four...Grab your off cut and cut the top of the circle template off as shown.

Step Five...Fold the two pointed ends over as shown...when you turn your piece of paper around, these will form the bats ears.

Step Six...Fold the top left hand corner down as shown...repeat with the other side.

Step Seven...Fold the bottom right hand corner in as shown...repeat for the other side.

Step Eight...Place a piece of sticky tape across the back to hold the folded edges in.

Step Nine...Glue the bat wings to the back of the bat, across the sticky taped edges.

Step Ten...Cut out some eyes and teeth...glue them to the front of your bat...and you are finished!

- See more at: http://scribbled.com.au/home/2012/10/23/quick-paper-halloween-bat.html#sthash.Dx5i9CjQ.dpuf

Now you can edit edit text within images - Amazing

Every once in while you see computers do things that make you go "wow" and this definitely falls in to that category.

Project Naptha is a chrome extension that allows you to edit text directly from within an image.  This process need to be seen to be believed and it opens up a range of opportunities for teachers and students to use images from the web much the same as you do text.

Naptha developers claim a 96 percent accuracy figure from decent quality images.  


Furthermore Naptha will also remove text from an image.  So all those watermarks and copyright notices which protect ownership of an image may become irrelevant in the near future from technology such as this.

Take a look at Naptha yourself now by downloading the Chrome extension and watch this space as I am sure you will not be hearing the last of project Naptha.


Get crafty with your kids this halloween


Halloween is a great opportunity to get creative with your students.  It is one of those rare times of year in which kids are full of ideas and enthusiasm so try and capitalize on it.

First off, our Halloween themed writing pack will be a winner with students of all age offering spooky themed planning tools, writing paper and writing tasks all based on Halloween and general spookiness click here to access it.

Secondly, Belinda at Scribbled has created these awesome little jack-o-lantern jars which I made with my students last year.  They look better than a traditional jack o lantern with out nearly any mess.  Your student will love them.

I hope these ideas are useful and I would love to hear of any Halloween activities you could recommend