Sunday, December 1, 2013

Make it Monday- Irving Arts Center Christmas Tree

Every year the Irving Arts Center has a tree decorating contest.  This year the theme is Navidad Latinoamerica! As soon as the theme was announced last year, I knew how I wanted to decorate it!  Then during the summer I learned about Aurasma from Two Guys and some iPads and Todd Nesloney, and I knew what else I wanted to do with the tree!  Thanks to my partner in crime Alex Alkire (aka AMAZING Art Teacher) we were on a mission!

So, our tree is themed as a giant Spanish skirt. 

Although our tree looks awesome (if I do say so myself!) what is even better is it is INTERACTIVE!  Each picture that is on the tree is tagged with an Aura.

I watched this video about a hundred times.  Aurasma is an amazing app, but there are definitely some tricks (and it is also awesome... but when you are working with 50+ pictures it is also a little more time consuming than I planned)

What I did:
-Take a picture of a student (I tried really hard to get 2 from each class in the school, but I ran out of time)
-I asked the student to say this sentence I am from ____ and during the holidays we ____
-Downloaded these pictures on my computer (you can use Aurasma through the iPad/device, but then only that iPad/device is able to see the Aura)
-VERY IMPORTANT-I had to edit each picture so the pixels were 480x640
-I then followed the directions that were listed in the above videos and the rest that were on Drew Minock's Youtube channel (oh and I bugged Todd about a hundred times!)
-I created a channel called Elliott Christmas Tree and put all of the pictures and videos that channel.
-During our Hispanic Heritage Month celebration I also took video of students doing traditional dances.  After they danced I took a group photo.  

At the foot of our Christmas tree I also included this picture how to
Now. I realize that not everyone is going to download the app and interact with our tree. 

Our note about the ornaments at the base of the Christmas tree is this:
The traditions of Latin America are so rich!  Between the colors, stories, traditions and food Latin America boasts wonderful ways to celebrate the season. 

Elliott Elementary chose to showcase 4 different Latin American locations.  Our tree has the embodiment of a Folklorico dancer’s skirt.   Her skirt carries hand crafted ornaments that the Mini Davinci’s created to represent the different areas. All the picture ornaments will come to life after you follow the directions for downloading the Aurasma app.
Ecuador is represented by the fans (Aventador) which are found all over Ecuador and are made by the local Indian groups.
Puerto Rico is represented by the Three Kings.  Three Kings Day/Epiphany celebrates the Three Wise Men’s visit to see the newborn Christ by exchanging gifts.
Mexico is represented on our tree by the poinsettias are native to Latin America especially in the Southern Mexico region.
El Salvador is represented by the Roman Candles.   Families in El Salvador celebrate by playing with sparklers and fireworks during the holiday season.
There are so many regions and areas to celebrate during the holiday season.  A large part of celebrating is joining family members for food and fellowship.  The pictures on our tree represent different areas across the world!  Students shared where they were from and what they eat during the holiday season.
Our school celebrates the rich traditions of Latin America by having a Hispanic Heritage Celebration every year.  The group pictures around our tree will also come to life by using the Aurasma app.
We hope you enjoy your journey through various Latin American traditions and will dance your way through the holidays!


  1. Great idea! You have inspired me to try this with our school tree. I haven't created an aura with Aurasma yet so thanks for the links for tutorial videos. What program did you use to create the picture on how people interact with the tree.

    1. Hey Kerri! I actually created the how to document in Page Publisher and then saved it as a PDF. The videos above SAVED me when working on all of this!

  2. Thank you so much for your help! I watched the video and have my ornament supplies...ready to take this on. So excited to try something new.

  3. I absolutely love this idea!!! What a great way to really bring it to life.