Saturday, July 4, 2009

Drawing with Bamboo Fun

I'm always looking for easy ways to make digital artwork and paintings. People always seems to need artwork for flashcards, games, picture dictionaries, and classroom posters, but using clip-art is not always appropriate.

My mother was a painter, and recently that's made me want to try to teach myself how to do digital illustrations. I called Mike Blum in our IT department, who recommended a painting tablet from Wacom called Bamboo Fun.

Bamboo Fun really is fun. For $99, you get the drawing tablet, a cordless, pressure-sensitive "pen", and a CD with Corel Paint and Photoshop Elements. It all seems pretty easy to use, and I really enjoy trying to reproduce the look of watercolor or pastels.It helps, of course, if you have something to draw from, even if it's just a photo. Corel Paint also has a feature where you can import a photo and trace around it, which is great for making coloring books.
I've obviously got a lot to learn still about painting, but having the right tools is a big help. Maybe if I keep practicing, my next drawing of a duck won't look so sick!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Two Games: Choskani Foskani and King Frog

For the last three weeks I've been in Louisiana doing my best to help with a Koasati language workshop. Our goal was to produce language teaching materials for little kids and for sixth graders. Each day we started the workshop with a game that could be used to teach a language. Here are two of the games that we enjoyed playing.

Choskani Foskani

Choskani Foskani is like the game "Telephone", except that it's a competition between two teams.

One person is the teacher. The others are students and form two lines. The teacher writes down something the students have been learning (a word, a sentence, etc.) on two pieces of paper. The teacher shows the message to the two people at the front of the lines. Each person in each line then whispers the message to the person behind them. When both lines are done, the last person in each line reports what they heard. A team getting the right answer gets one point.

We called this game Choskani Foskani, because we started with the Koasati sentence "Chinchoskanik hoopahchi?" (Is your duck sick?), which is what one person said when he saw my duck t-shirt. By the time it had gotten to the end of the line, it had become Choskani Foskani, a name we'll never forget.

King Frog (aka Thumper)

Stephanie Hasselbacher taught us this game.

Everyone stands in a circle. One person starts by acting out a word or short phrase and saying it. Examples might be thatho ‘fish’, biitlil ‘I’m dancing’, or chakaay ‘I’m full’. The next person to the right repeats that action and adds another. Then the third person repeats the first two actions and adds a third, etc.