Tie the enthusiasm kids have for the holidays with a technology lesson!
Read “Mrs. Claus Takes a Vacation” by Linas Alsenas to your students. To begin this story, Mrs. Claus has become quite upset with her lack of vacations and travel. Daily jobs like feeding the reindeer seem boring. So she jumps in the sleigh and travels the world for the days before Christmas. Santa is worried about her. She returns and they head out on the one night, world tour.
After reading this story, ask students to think about where Santa and Mrs. Claus might want to travel. Santa doesn’t ever stay anywhere but the North Pole for very long, so imagine they are going on a vacation.
Using photo software, either something so advanced as PhotoShop or as old as HyperStudio, students can combine two photos together. Have students find copyright-friendly images online and save them. Then insert the background image. Next “cut out” an image of Santa and/or Mrs. Claus and paste them over the background. This might look like Santa visiting Mt. Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, The Great Wall of China, or any other place you can imagine!
Next, have your students create a journal entry for the travel log describing where he is and what he’s doing there. For instance, “Santa has always wanted to visit Mt. Rushmore. Usually he just gets to see it from overhead. This time, he and Mrs. Claus took a three day vacation to hike all around the area.”
Type that journal entry and add to the superimposed photo.
Once the pages have been created there are a few options:
1.Print each page. Bind into a Travel Log book for the class.
2. Combine all the pages electronically and make a slide show. Record the voices of each student reading his or her entry.
3. Convert the electronic slideshow into a podcast and share with the world. Publish on your class or school webpage and send it to iTunes.
Children love this activity. It seems to be one that they ask for year after year.
So, disguise a strong technology lesson with the holiday content and watch your students rush to the computers to begin their project.
Final note: this exact same lesson can be done using the book “Liberty’s Journey” by Kelly DiPucchio. In this story the Statue of Liberty wants to take a look around the rest of the United States. Choose background photos of places in the United States and then superimpose Lady Liberty. Write about where she is and why she chose to stop there.