Sunday, October 28, 2018

Using Google Drawings to make virtual altars for Día de Muertos

I've been pondering how to have my students make a virtual altar for a loved one or famous person as a part of my mini-unit on Day of the Dead this week, but I wasn't coming up with any satisfactory solutions. There are a few websites that let you build virtual altars, but you can't customize the objects, so they're pretty generic and not really a reflection of any specific person (but they look pretty cool).

I thought about using a virtual bulletin board like Padlet, but I'd either have to create a bulletin board for each student (105 bulletin boards, which would be tedious and require me to upgrade to the paid plan) or I'd have to have students create individual accounts with Padlet. I'm trying to be judicious in the number of accounts I ask students to create, because if every teacher is asking them to create 5 accounts with various websites or apps, that's a lot of usernames and passwords to remember. So I didn't want to do that.

I thought about just letting them choose their own medium because I was having trouble coming up with something, and then I remembered Google Drawings. If your school uses Google Classroom, this is a particularly great option because you can create a blank document or a template and assign it to your students. Google Classroom allows you the option to make a copy for each student, and then voilà! Each student has their own copy that they can use to create a virtual altar. In our case, it's going to look more like a virtual bulletin board unless my students want to make it look more like an altar, but the basic idea is the same. Here's the model I made for my grandma, who passed away in 2015:

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