A little Christmas Magic

I love the possibilities for creating magic for children using technology. A little bit of wonder and excitement in a busy and sometimes stressful time of year in school goes a long way! 

I used Doink greenscreen along with iMovie to create a video for my class, showing that Santa came to our school over the weekend. The elves were bustling about in the corridors, Santa was in the playroom and the reindeer were dancing on the table!  I’ve never seen children so excited. Even my very shy, withdrawn child was shouting and laughing at what was air playing to the whiteboard from my iPad. In my class we used that 2 minute video as a stimulus for writing our letters to Santa. 

Then the other classes in Foundation Stage heard about it and asked for help making their own similar videos… Reindeer have been dancing all over school now!

That was fun for the pupils, but was made for them so my next bit of Christmas magic will be much more interactive. I’m taking a step up from green screening into Augmented Reality. Now I’m very new to this, but I think it should work. 

I’m using the app Aurasma to create auras around my school. Basically spots of magic. You take a photo in the app and that becomes the trigger. Then you choose an overlay, the magic that will appear. So my first one is an elf throwing and catching presents. 

  
When you scan the trigger image with the camera in the aurasma app, the overlay magically appears. You save your auras into channels, public so the children have access to them. 

This little bit of magic made up of a trigger image and overlay is called an aura. You can even get into the shot too and take a picture. 

I’m going to put ten auras around the school on the ground floor. Things like snow falling, reindeer, elves and penguins. I’m going to mark the area with a small laminated picture of an elf. That’s the Elf Hunt set up. 
For class I have made an iBook with Book Creator called “we’re going on an Elf Hunt!” Loosely it follows the same pattern as “we’re going on a bear hunt.” Which is a familiar story for them. I used graphics from pixabay so they are all copyright free images. If you’d like to use the book you can get a copy here as an ePub file. If you download it on an iPhone or iPad and can’t open it,  email it to yourself as an attachment then you can open it in iBooks easily.

  
After reading this the children will go round the school in small groups with an iPad each looking for the small elf markers. Once the pupils see an elf they will scan around the area with the iPads open in aurasma to find the magic. 

Then when everyone has had a chance to do that they we can collectively add some more pages to the iBook using Book Creator. Or create a new book on our elf hunt. 

A bit magical, very purposeful and a whole lot of fun! 

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