I taught my first summer iPad classes. The two classes I taught this year were Make a Face (portrait drawing) and Claymation. The classes came from a desire to use the iPads in a summer enrichment class and from a lack of an art program in grades k-8. So I sent home some forms with the 2nd and 3rd grade kids to see if there was interest in classes that ran for a week in the summer for 1 hour each day.
About that same time my friend Tricia Fuglestad introduced me to a company called Edbacker. I did some investigating and found them to be a perfect fit for this project. Edbacker helps teachers get the word out about projects that they are trying to fund. They also provide a way for donors to give electronically to your project. The the work that they did for me on the the backside was so valuable. They contacted various groups that might have been interested in funding my project and made them aware of it. This resulted in some sizable donations from people I never would have thought to contact. One of those people was John Balestrieri (@tinrocket on Twittter) an app developer who created the app Percolator, which I was wanting to purchase for the portrait class. The kids had great time running all their different creations through Percolator and adjusting the “grind” until it was just right. By the end of my Edbacker campaign we had raised all but $100 of the funds I needed. So with a few minor adjustments the classes were on!
I hope to run classes like this again next year but there are a few changes I would make:
1. Claymation takes longer than I think. Allow more than just an hour for each Claymation class.
2. Making clay figures is a great lesson in physics. Even though you show the kids that tall skinny figures will not stand up and be moveable, they will not listen. Allow time for them to test movement and remake their character.
3. 13 2nd and 3rd grade kids in a Claymation class is too many. I don’t want to feel rushed. Limit class sizes. Also Middle School kids can be pretty much self run in this class so don’t count them toward the limit.
4. Advertise this as a way for kids to complete their summer time 4H Fair entry. Parents will love me for taking one project off their hands.
5. Add a iPad photography class.
6. Put the word out that adult classes could be offered in the evening if there is enough interest.
7. Get those forms out earlier. April might be a good time.
Make sure to do these things again next year:
1. Take one work from the Portrait class and get it printed as a 8×10 photo. The kids love seeing their work made big and important.
2. Post videos to Youtube. I heard about movie nights where parents invited the extended family for a movie viewing party!
3. Use most if not all of the class time for DOING not listening. It’s summer. No one wants to hear a lecture.