Tag Archives: Skitch

Funny Thanksgiving Food for Printing/iPad, and Some Sad “Skitch” News

Funny Thanksgiving Food for iPad and/or print

Some time ago I made a worksheet called Funny Thanksgiving Food, and recently I drew a version  to use on the iPad or Android, and it is also a printable. This  worksheet is a review of the notes around middle C. Click on the link above for this colorful version that looks good on a mobile device. However, since it is a PDF so it can be printed, laminated, and used with dry erase markers.

I also significantly updated the print-friendly version below, which has keys instead of notes on the staff.  Funny Thanksgiving Food has been a very popular coloring printable over the years, but I think I draw better now. The coloring version is good to use with younger children at a group lesson while waiting for everyone to show up. What child can resist coloring food all the wrong colors! (I also have a version where the pilgrim has to be colored, which might be useful for parents or a group class. Email me and I’ll send it to you.)

Funny Thanksgiving Food

The mention of the iPad brings up the subject of Skitch, my (used-to-be) favorite app to use with worksheets. Imagine my disappointment a few weeks ago when I discovered the company that bought Skitch, Evernote, has totally revamped the app in version Skitch 2.0, so that it is no longer useful with my students!  As a matter of fact, it has created a lot of resentment and angst among long time Skitch users. You can do a search on the web to read about it. If you have the first version of Skitch, I advise you to keep using it and DO NOT update it! Once you update it, you cannot get the old version back.

I am looking for a replacement app for Skitch that will work in my piano lessons, and when I find one that is as easy as the first version of Skitch, I’ll let you know.  So far I have tried many apps, and none are simple and easy enough for my needs.

All I want is an app to import and open PDF’s from the web, with some easy tools to draw lines and circles on  the PDF.  It should have an eraser without erasing the PDF, and/or an un-do button. There should be a way to clear the screen to start over. It needs to be so easy that even *I* can quickly figure out how to use it. Please leave a comment or email me if you know of one! I’ve tried various PDF reader apps that can be marked with annotations, but none are simple enough for what I am looking for.  I’ve also tried various whiteboard apps and drawing apps. I’m still looking!

I wrote Evernote very politely asking if they could put the first version back in the app store for those of us who use it for education, but they never bothered to reply.


Filed under Group lesson ideas, iPad Ideas, Note Identification, Preschool Music Resources, Thanksgiving

Using Skitch for iPad Part Two

Finger Numbers for Beginners

My last post was a tutorial on how to use the Skitch app with the iPad during music lessons. Above is a worksheet downloaded from my website into Skitch. It is one of the most popular documents on my website, and I recently completely revised the file. (You can click on the link for a printable copy.) I wish I had made the boxes bigger for use with the iPad, but I tell students it’s ok to write outside the box, so it works fine with young students.

This rest of this post is going to show a newbie another educational, but fun way to use Skitch. If you’re already familiar with mobile apps, you probably don’t need this tutorial, but since Skitch doesn’t come with directions as far as I know, this might help some teachers learn a few tricks.

Drawing Notes in Skitch

First open up a music staff in Skitch. You are welcome to use the Skittle Game Board that I made several years ago. I like this one because it has ledger lines. If you want one without ledger lines but with a line for middle C, download Grand Staff for Dimes.  For one with just lines so you can draw clefs, use Large Grand Staff Paper. I’ve been planning on taking down some of these old graphics, but now I’m giving them new life on the iPad! It helps some students focus when there are not other illustrations on the page. Email me if you have any trouble with the downloads.

Once you have the staff in Skitch, use two fingers to make it the size you want it to be. Mine looks like this. Use the picture tool to save the size. Now it is on the home page for future use.

Now we are going to draw a note to use on our staff. Chose a color from the tool bar. Using the slider in the color tool, move the slider toward the left. If you move it to the right, the note will be too thick. Adjust it to the size you like best.

Select the circle tool and draw a note that will fit on the staff. If it’s too big or too small, don’t worry, you can change that in the next step. If you prefer, you can draw your note with the pencil tool, which is a lot easier if you plan to draw quarter notes or eighth notes.

The tool with the pointed finger is the selection tool. Touch it to make it active, and now touch the note you just drew. See the flashing dots? That means it is selected. You can modify your note now. With two fingers, pull out diagonally on the note to make it larger or come in and make it smaller. If the flashing dots disappear, you can touch your note and it will be selected again as long as the selection tool is active.

Now comes the fun part!  With the note selected, you can move it all around the staff. Use your finger to move the note down to bass G and move it up one step at a time. Or move it in spaces so students can learn skipping notes. You can do so many things with a moving note! This is a great tool for learn steps and skips, note names, intervals, etc.

Adding Text

Not only can you draw notes on your staff, but you can add text. Be sure to move the slider over to the largest setting for text. Otherwise, the text will be too small to work with. If your text is big enough, you can grab it and re-size just like we did with the note. When text is too small, it’s impossible to re-size or move around. I don’t think the developer planned on text being used in this way!

You can have all this ready to use before your student arrives so that all you have to do is select the note and let your student move it. But if you draw the note at the lesson, it will only take a few seconds as long as you have practiced before hand.

Use Skitch Anywhere

You can draw in Skitch without a WiFi connection, too. (You need one to download graphics, of course.) Without any internet connection, it only took a minute to draw the staff below. I selected “Blank” on the home page, then used the straight line tool to draw the staff. I drew the treble clef and note with the pencil tool. Skitch automatically saved it on the home page. So if you’re on the plane this summer, you can make all kinds of things for your students!

Don’t forget you can email the parents a worksheet their child does at the piano lesson. So they can keep up with what you are doing at lessons without using paper and ink.

If you buy a stylus for your students to use, I suggest an inexpensive one that is a thick as a pencil. That will be easier for them to handle. My student used his finger for the finger number worksheet at the top. Experiment with the line size.

The possibilities of things to do with moving notes and letters are endless, and I hope that teachers will leave some comments with ideas. (Comments are anonymous.)


Filed under iPad Ideas, Teaching Business

A Fast and Simple Way to Use the iPad in Lessons with Skitch

If you are new to the iPad, I want to share the fastest no-fail way I’ve found to download and use graphic activities in piano lessons. Not all worksheets and activities are suitable for use with an iPad, but many are and not only is it more fun, but it saves paper and ink. The picture above shows a students doing rhythmic dictation on the iPad. For the purpose of this tutorial, I will use the Ladybug Board Game graphic that I posted on my website last week.

Download the Free App Skitch

To set this up, you will need to download Skitch., a free app from the iTunes store.   Skitch is not a super complicated app that will do a million things, but it fast and easy to use. Once you have Skitch on your iPad, you can use any graphic from the web in your lessons.

I have tried out many apps to use with my graphics since I was given my iPad, some that I bought and some that are free. In my experience, Skitch is the fastest and easiest to use. In a piano lesson I don’t have a lot of time to fool around with trying to remember how an app works. It has to be as easy as picking up a pencil and paper.

Before Your Student Arrives At the Lesson Set Up Your iPad

1. Using your iPad, open the Skitch app. On the home page there are several icons on the top row. Select “Web.”

2. When next window opens, there will be a place to type in a website or do a Google search. To make it easy for this tutorial, you can click on this link. http://www.susanparadis.com/catalog.php?ID=SP310

3. Select “Download”. This opens my Ladybug Board Game PDF document, just like on your desktop computer.

4. Turn the iPad to Landscape orientation. (You need to do this for any graphic in landscape orientation but not portrait.) Using two fingers, center the graphic exactly like you want to use it. You can make a graphic smaller or larger by zooming in or out. This is one of the reasons I like Skitch.

5. When you have it just like you want it, click the camera icon on the left. Skitch saves the Ladybug picture and puts it on the home page for future use. You cannot change the graphic (other than crop it or zoom in or out), but you can draw or type all over it.

6. Notice now there are a lot of icons on the left side. The Ladybug graphic is saved on the home page of Skitch for you to use in your lessons. It will be there until you delete it.

With Your Student in the Lesson

1. Do not tell your students you are going to play an iPad game. This will confuse them, (especially the younger ones) because iPad games have animation, and all you are going to do is draw on the graphic. I learned this the hard way, with a disappointed little child. (There are plenty of iPad animated games but that is not what this tutorial is about!) I simply tell them we’re going to practice notes or whatever on the iPad. Then they will not expect the ladybugs and bees to fly around and be all let down when they don’t. Sometimes I ask if they want to use paper or iPad. They always choose iPad because it is new and different.

2. Open Skitch and select the previously saved Ladybug graphic from the home page.

3. When it opens, select the colored *dot* on the left and select the size and color. Now select the *pencil* tool. So far it has only taken 20 seconds of lesson time to get ready to use with a student. Practice this before you use it in a lesson and see how long it takes you! That’s all you have to do!

4. To do the activity, use the same directions as the paper board game. Using either keyboard of grand staff flash cards, students select a card and move to the correct letter. Using the pencil tool, the student will cross out the letter he lands on. Use different colors for two or more players. Keep drawing, moving, and crossing out until the student gets to the end.

If you are on the bench, you can play a piano key instead of selecting a card. Be creative! I try to make activities that teachers can use in different ways.

The picture above is a screen shot that I used with my student. He crossed out in green and I used yellow. We find it a lot easier to use a stylus (around $15.00) than drawing with our fingers.

There is no eraser tool in Skitch, but there is an undo tool, and it will go back as much as you need. The garbage can icon will clear the entire board of any writing you have done, but it won’t clear off the Ladybug graphic. The shapes (the circle icon) are difficult for little ones to use, so I prefer the pencil tool. The pointed finger icon is the select tool, and if you select something you draw, you can move it around the board!

What I like about Skitch is that it makes it easy to use any picture on the web that gives you permission to download. You can use a giant staff and draw notes. You can draw a note, select it, and move it around the staff. You can use Skitch’s (typing) keyboard, type in letters, and move the letters around a grand staff. By modifying the rules of your activities, you can think of many ways to use Skitch. On my game, for example, you can draw a little ladybug and move it around the board with your finger. Or you can draw a circle to use as your “token” to move around instead of crossing out letters.

I plan to show you some more graphics that are good for the iPad this summer. In the meantime, check out the beautiful ones by Anne Crosby. (Go to her links section.)  Jennifer Fox has written a lot of ways to use the iPad in piano lessons, so be sure to check out her blog. If you are willing to share your iPad graphics, please let us know!

Leave a comment if you have any questions or if there is something you need help with. Comments are moderated to avoid spam, so it might not show up right away.


Filed under iPad Ideas, Teaching Aids