I have had Kidspiration 3 in the lab for a full year. I'm just starting to get comfortable with the program. I think it will become a very useful tool in Kindergarten and first grade. I've learned how to use the Teacher menu and still have more to learn, but I'd like to reflect on some lessons I've learned.
The first project I am working on with Kindergarten is sorting by color. This project is intended to introduce Kidspiration to my Kindergarten students for the first time. I found a clear canister icon and dragged three onto the screen. It is actually a terrarium. I labeled one red, one blue, and one yellow. I clicked on the resized terrarium and made it a Super Grouper item by clicking the icon shown on the right and choosing Create SuperGrouper.
I didn't want to give the Kindergarten students so many symbol choices. I know that some of the built-in projects do not have all the symbol libraries. It was then that I noticed the Teacher menu. It is very easy to use the Save With Activity Wizard menu item and select particular libraries.
The actual lesson and Kidspiration file are on my wiki page.
First Grade Colors Extension
I was able to use the same file with the first grade since I did not use Kidspiration with them in Kindergarten. I extended the project with Kindergarten by having them switch to the writing mode.
On day one, they wrote very short sentences telling which color was their first, second, and third favorite of the three colors. They wrote short sentences stating color of the icons dragged into the buckets. On day two, they exported the work to Word and deleted the blank lines between sentences. This will help them eventually turn their outlines in Kidspiration into actual paragraphs in Word.
A Question I Received
As I was working on this project, I had a quick exchange with Christy Tvarok Green. She asked me if you can "freeze" a template in Kidspiration. I was able to find this option on the Teacher menu. I chose Select All items on the page and from the Teacher menu choose Locked Item. Now when I open the template, students can still type in boxes and move images to a box, but they can not move or delete the boxes. This will be very helpful in the early grade classes.