Kid Pix 4 Teaching Tips, Project Ideas, Working with Graphics, and Technical Notes
from Sunday Software, www.sundaysoftware.com
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I’ve been teaching with programs like Kid Pix in the church since the mid-90’s. Many of the ideas here come straight from my own computer lab and those who have used creative writing and drawing programs over the years. I keep adding to this page so check back at least once a year for new ideas.
Kid Pix in a nutshell: “PowerPoint for Kids“
- Kid Pix’s creative writing and drawing tools let your students create their own multimedia pictures and slideshows about any subject.
- Kid Pix can speak out-loud over the computer speakers whatever is typed on the screen using the text tool.
- You can import graphics, including photographs, illustrate them and add captions.
- Kid Pix doesn’t have Bible content in it. You use it to create content/reflection after the Bible study.
- You can create a one page illustration or several pages which can be turned into a slideshow. Each student/workstation can be assigned part of a class project and share it with others.
- Students will tend to doodle without clear instructions and expectations. Read our tips below.
- Plug a microphone into your computer and have kids “record” their narrations into their pages. This creates a playable radio show!
The Key to Getting Results with Kid Pix:
- Sit down with your students as they work on their creations.
- Discuss ideas with them.
- Ask them about their work while it’s in progress.
- Make suggestions while they are working, don’t wait until the end.
- Show ‘n Tell afterwards and compliment earnest efforts.
Realize that many of your teaching opportunities will occur DURING the process of creating in Kid Pix. Computers and fun software put them in an attentive or focal state. They’ll be open to talk with you if you project yourself into their awareness, rather than standing back.
Encourage students to work together on ideas and share the tools. Your expectations and active management will go a long way to ensuring this.
After they are done, ask them to show the class what they’ve created. Ask them to explain it. Ask them questions about their work. Ask them to compare their content/reflections to other presentations on other computers.
Create a FOLDER on your computer full of Bible images and pictures. These will come in VERY handy when you want kids to import a Bible scene and add their own content. For example, say you are studying “Jesus Calms the Storm”. Find some illustrations of that story online using Google Images, and copy them to a folder on the computer where your kids are working on Kid Pix. Then have them import those images as a background and enhance them with their own content (illustrated and written).
A Few Typical Lesson Uses
1. Illustrate and Rephrase the Verse.
After a Bible study about Psalm 23, the teacher might ask students to:
- Illustrate their favorite two verses in the Psalm, including the text of the verses in their illustration. Then they play them back for the class.
- Or.. the teacher might assign different verses to different computers, –each computer making a presentation on their assigned verse. Then when everyone is done, the teacher asks each station to play back its presentation in verse order -with everybody watching and listening.
2. Summarize/Reflect on the Bible Verse
In the reflection example on the right, the student has imported and illustrated two ‘saved’ Bible graphics which the teacher found and saved to the computer ahead of time.
3. Rewrite the story/dialog.
After a Bible study about Jesus’ Call to the Disciples, the teacher might ask the students to:
- Rewrite Jesus’ call to disciples who are carpenters, nurses, or a factory workers, instead of fishers of men. Also write the disciples responses, including “the disciple who chose not to follow” and his reasons why he didn’t heed Jesus’ call.
- Create the dialog which Jesus probably heard in the crowd when he invited himself Zaccheus’ house. In the crowd illustration, illustrate two people, one positive and one negative.
- After studying the story of Pentecost in Acts 2, re-imagine the “good news” which Peter shared but put it in the language of a pirate, or a baby, or a surfer dude (the gift of Pentecost was making the gospel intelligible to the ‘hearers’).
4. Create “Memes” aka “Captions” for Images
Get a bunch of illustrations, art images, or things like screenshots from videos you’re using in the classroom, import them into a folder on the computer, and have the kids use the IMPORT tool in Kid Pix to create backgrounds or images they can turn into a meme or “captioned graphic.” Add captions to explain what a character is thinking in the picture, what Jesus is thinking at that moment, etc
5. Create a slideshow of student photographs depicting key scenes in a Bible story.
As mentioned above, it’s a REALLY GOOD IDEA to create a folder of Bible images, Bible characters, and Bible story scenes on your computer. You can find them on the internet, and in clip art CDs. Then your kids can pull in an image to jumpstart their project. This will speed up the “creation” process, and help students focus on the story~meaning rather than the drawing tools. See the image example below in the “typical 3 step lesson plan.”MORE PROJECT IDEAS BELOW.Click the CREATE PDF icon in the right side column to print this page as a PDF.See our Bible clip art cd for a lot of ready-made Bible images.
► If you like the “Talk Aloud” text-to-speech capability of Kid Pix, then take a close look at Sunday Software’s “Let’s Talk CD” at https://sundaysoftware.com/site/lets-talk/. Let’s Talk is the next step beyond Kid Pix that will especially appeal to your older students. In Let’s Talk, students and/or teachers can create an animated character which speaks aloud whatever your students type into the screen.
A basic 3 step Kid Pix lesson plan with all ages
Step 1. Begin with a Bible Study, discuss key points and ask questions. If you have a piece of software or video to show the story, you can use it to teach the story before you get into Kid Pix.
Step 2. Open up Kid Pix and have students create an illustration or slideshow (collection of illustrations) that recaps or REFLECTS on what you’ve learned today.
Draw a key scene and add new dialog. Depending on your age group and time available, you may have them create just one, or several pages in their presentation. As you can see in the example to the right>> we jumpstarted the illustrating process with ‘stock’ images we had in a Bible images folder which we created on our computers. You can find these images on the internet. It’s a great idea to create a collection of them. You can also ‘save’ to a folder on your computer some favorite Bible clipart images from one of our Bible clip art CD.
Go around to each workstation encouraging students to think about their content.
Step 3. Show ‘n tell: Have all the students go to each station and have the workstations show off and explain their creation. Ask more questions. Follow-up.
More about Creating a Bible Images Folder:
Being able to import some ready-made Bible graphics really helps younger students develop their illustration. Their drawing capabilities may not be the best, and they’ll spend too much time on the tools instead of thinking about what they want to say or depict. Over time, you will accumulate quite a nice library of images to draw upon.
You can also save “screenshots” from software into that folder. So let’s say you have just shown your First Graders the story of “Jesus Stops the Storm” in the Play & Learn Children’s Bible CD. While you were previewing the CD, you should have taken a “screen capture” or “screenshot” of some key scenes, and saved them to your Bible images folder (or whatever you call it). Label your image well so they’re easy to find during the Kid Pix image import process. Then you’ll help your children pull up that image as a background for their illustration. See my notes below on this subject for more tips.
Where are the “Project Templates” in Kid Pix 4?
They are in the “Idea Machine” folder. Click the bumblebee icon in the upper-left corner of the KP menu to open the Idea Machine. You’ll see a file dialog box. Depending on which folder you last accessed, you may need to click the ‘up’ arrow to navigate up to the Ideas Machine Folder. From there you will see many different categories of templates. Each template can be modified once you select it and place it on the page. For example, you can use the eraser tool to erase text in the template, or add text, images and color. Most of the templates probably won’t be useful for Sunday School, but it’s worthy clicking on some and looking at their thumbnail to become familiar and file away for future reference.
Other Project Ideas and Tips for Kid Pix
- I wonder, what did the older brother finally do in the Prodigal Son story? Jesus didn’t say –but your kids could write and illustrate it.
- How might the story have ended differently if Adam and Eve had not hidden but confessed? Write the dialogue.
- Write a modern day version of the story, in pirate language.
- MAKE A RADIO SHOW! Create several “script and illustration pages” in Kid Pix, and then use the RECORD features on each page to add a sound recording. All you need is a microphone to plug into your computer.
- Create a Book Cover with a snazzy title using the KP book cover template. Use it to wrap around two pieces of posterboard cut in the size of a book that include the student’s summary of the Bible passage, and illustration (which can also be created in Kid Pix and printed out.
- Condense Deborah’s story into 12 key words. Now reduce it down to just 6 essential words. Discuss why you picked those words.
- Rewrite the story telling it from God’s point of view, ….from ______’s point of view.
- Make a newsletter announcing the strange happenings at Bethlehem.
- Create a 3 frame “cartoon strip” project. Use “thought bubbles” and “dialog bubbles.” Print sheets and tape together.
- Have older kids (who think the program is too young for them) create storybooks/presentations to show or give to younger classes.
- Students interview each other, each typing their questions and responses about a subject, such as, what you would have done if you had been David facing Goliath, or been by the fire with Peter when the soldiers identified you.
- Have students ‘write’ onscreen with the stamp (icons, which paint with pictures instead of a line of color). Make choosing the stamp image part of the thought process. What 3 stamps would you use to paint the word “Forgiveness” in this story?
- Create journals, prayer journals, etc. (there are journal graphics built-in to the program)
- Design “Commercials” about the church budget, a mission project, or “Elijah’s miracle cures.”
- Design an invitation to have John the Baptist come to your church. Suggest what he will probably say.
- Import your own pictures, and bible graphics clip art. (copy the graphics into the computer before the kids come).
- Using a digital camera, take a video of the students explaining or telling the story and import it into Kid Pix and add content/illustrations.
- Rotate kids to different computers each adding a thought or answer to a question or comment posed by the teacher.
- Use a digital camera to take pictures of the kids re-enacting parts of the story, import into KP and add “thought bubbles” over their heads. (Many digital cameras can also take short videos).
- If your computer has a microphone, use the Kid Pix recorder feature to include audio in any KP page. Kids can provide their own reactions to verses, etc.
- Use Kid Pix’s “poster mode” when printing illustrations. Kid Pix will then print a section of each illustration on individual sheets which can be taped together.
One of my favorite Kid Pix lesson ideas:
One of my favorite approaches to using Kid Pix is to have the kids “translate” scriptures into a “new language” using the typing and read aloud features. “Surfer Dude” language is one of my favorites. Pirate language, Baby language. No, KP doesn’t have those languages built-in, the kids CREATE them. “Yo Disciple Dudes, Surf’s Up, time to ride with the Lord.” “Avast ye scurvy Pharisees” –Rethinking the words and their meanings in different ways creates some fun lesson moments and great discussion fodder. My “Pentecost Pirates” lesson can be found in the book, Teaching with Computers in Christian Education and on my page about Pentecost lesson ideas.
There are 3 Ways to Add Text to an Illustration:
Draw a text box and type the text. This is the kind of text which Kid Pix can speak out-loud when you press the play button.**
You can change the text box and font choices to make it appear more clearly against the background.
In Small Kids Mode, add Rubber Stamp letters to the picture. These can be moved around, but do not speak aloud.
- Use the ABC Text feature to paint wacky text onto your picture. These become part of the background.
The Text Box Tool will get a lot of work-out in your classroom. Experiment with it! You can changed fonts, sizes, colors and locations. The text box will always appear on top of whatever other graphics you bring into the picture. To be sure the text is clearly visible, you can paint a solid color or box behind it.
**If you like the text-to-speech feature in Kid Pix, you’ll also enjoy Sunday Software’s “Let’s Talk” CD. Let’s Talk let’s student design an animated person/creature who speaks their words onscreen. Let’s Talk has several modules, including a Lesson Builder form the students can use to create a presentation -complete with a 3 question quiz that also reads aloud. Read about it at www.sundaysoftware.com/lets-talk
Learn to IMPORT Bible graphics into the program, …especially when using KP with older kids.
It’s easy! Import photos, graphics, Bible clip art and more. There’s an excellent manual on the CD if you’re unfamiliar with importing graphics. Digital photos are easy to import into Kid Pix. Kid Pix can import several different image types, including jpeg, bmp and gif. Lesson Example: Take photos of your kids acting out Bible scenes, import them into Kid Pix, add text captions (which the computer will speak aloud), add illustrations, then pull them all together in Kid Pix’s slideshow feature.
Pictured Right: a boat graphic we pulled into Kid Pix to begin several pages about Paul’s journeys. the kids painted it and added the text below the graphic (which the program can read outloud). To make sure the text was visible against the graphic, they painted a yellow box over the graphic.
Editing and Pasting pictures into Kid Pix is easy
You’ll just need to spend some time experimenting with the various cut/paste, scissor tools. I suggest you first edit your graphics outside of Kid Pix before bringing them in as backgrounds and imported graphics. Use a photo editing program or Windows paint.
When you first ADD (import) a graphic into a Kid Pix illustration, you are importing the entire graphic. But what if you only want to import PART of a graphic? Kid Pix’s editing tool doesn’t work exactly like Photoshop or other programs. Here’s how you can EDIT that graphic within Kid Pix to only paste the part of the graphic you want into your illustration….
Once you paste that graphic and lock it into position, you can’t move it or edit it again. But you can reapply the background to cover up what you don’t want, then select PASTE from your Edit menu on the Kid Pix main toolbar (top of screen). It will paste your cut/edited graphic again for you!
TIP: When you create or import a graphic, it will be saved in the “Users” folder named after the person who signed-in when you first opened Kid Pix. You can browse these other user’s folders and snatch graphics from them when you open the import dialog box. You can also select the option on the Import menu to “save the image in the Kid Pix Library”. This is useful for finding it later, rather than having users look all over the computer for the image.
Great Kid Pix Lesson Photo Idea:
Have students dramatize key Bible scenes in a “frozen tableau” and use your digital camera to take a picture of it. Then plug your camera into the computer and import the picture into Kid Pix using Kid Pix’s ADD menu. In this way you can create some pretty cool slideshows featuring the real stars of your lessons. Add some talking text to the picture. When done showing the presentation, print it out.
More Tips for Teachers about Kid Pix:
- When you’re in the Slideshow screen, click the icons underneath each frame to access options. One allows you to select which file to play as that slide. The other allows you to make changes to the SLIDE TRANSITIONS. It’s very useful for slowing down the presentation, allowing animations to run smoothly before changing slides, etc.
- The default slideshow setting for each slide is 7 seconds. If your typed text takes longer than 7 seconds to read, it will cut it off and switch to the next slide. To MODIFY this setting, click the Movie Camera Icon in the Slideshow screen. This will reveal the phrase “7 seconds” below each slide you have put in the slideshow. Click on that phrase and a Options Box will appear. You can change the duration of each slide, or you can select “Read Text Done” so that the slide won’t change until all the text is read on it. A graphic of this screen is provided below.
- Don’t use the paintcan tool with imported graphics. The paintcan fills areas with color and often “breaks out” of the boundaries of imported graphics. In order for it to stay within a bounded area, the area must have an unbroken circle of color around it. A lot of hand-drawn graphics have broken lines/boundaries which allow the paintcan to “leak” across the page.
- You can set up multiple users at one time for classroom use, or if lots of kids use the same computer. For example, you can set up ‘users’ named “Grade 1” and “Grade 2”. To do so, at the “Login” screen, type “KidPixAdmin” and then click “Go”. Type the names of the new users and click “Add” after each one.
- Older students make excellent Kid Pix assistants! They can help keep your younger students on task, and help them with features.
- A class of older students may feel that Kid Pix is too elementary for them, so instead, ask them to use Kid Pix to make presentations for the younger kids.
- Younger students who can’t read CAN type simple words -if you show them the word. And remember, Kid Pix reads the words aloud.
- Teach students to make pages rather quickly and focus on content.
- Hold a “training day” for your teachers to learn how to use Kid Pix. Have some students there to help them 😉
- If you press your printscreen key on your keyboard in most programs you are using, Windows saves that screenshot to the invisible Windows clipboard. Open up a new page in Kid Pix and go to the EDIT menu (on top toolbar) and click paste….and there’s your screen. You can crop it from there and fuss with it.
- Kid Pix 4 CD can install entirely on your harddrive and you can put the CD away for safe keeping. Please remember, however, that you cannot use the CD to create multiple copies of Kid Pix on other computers. That is stealing.
- Access the File taskbar at the top of the screen and change the voices and text appearance for Kid Pix.
- Access the File taskbar to teach Kid Pix how to say words like “Gethsemane.”
- PRINT in Economy or DRAFT MODE to save color ink. When you select Print in Kid Pix, a printer dialog box should appear, open up it’s “properties” selection and look for the controls which change color vs. b/w and full ink mode vs draft mode. With many printers “draft mode” is all you need to create projects good enough.
Budget your time and printer expenses with KP.
Tell your kids exactly how long they have to create. Less time and shorter presentations will force them to think more concisely and keep them from doodling. Doodling is exactly what they will do if you do not give them specific time and content goals. Smaller projects will also take less time to print out (color inkjet printers can be slow) and cost you less color ink (which is expensive). Other time savers: Tell them which tools they can and cannot use for a certain project. Have them draw quick stick figures. Have older students there to help younger ones.
If you type too much text for an illustration, then you will need to make the slide display time longer so all the text can be heard and not get cut off by the next slide. This is a blip in the software we hope they’ll correct in an updated version.
Always download the latest version of Quicktime, www.apple.com/quicktime. Always install Kid Pix while logged in as the Main User with full admin rights. If you log in as limited privileges user and get error messages, you may need to RIGHT click the KP startup icon and set the option to “Run as Admin.”
If the animated pictures or clipart appear as empty boxes, see our Tech Notes for how to fix that.
See more great software for Sunday School at www.sundaysoftware.com
Kid Pix Teaching Tips Updated 2016, Copyright Sunday Software and Neil MacQueen.
These may not be distributed beyond local classroom/teacher use.
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