Unit Overview

Guiding Question
Want To Make Some Eye Candy?
Outcomes/Learning Objectives
If you use want to use Gibbon's Outcomes, use the outcome blocks above instead of this section.
  • Learn how to use the Acorn image editing application, including the following:
    • How to remove the background from an image.
    • The importance and power of layers.
    • How to use filters.
  • Understand the difference between raster and vector images.
  • Understand the differences between common raster formats, including jpg, png and gif.
  • Understanding some ideas from typography, including type face, kerning and line spacing.

Differentiation by outcome or task? What will G&T students be expected to do? How ill you use questioning to challenge all students? What have you done to support EAL needs?

  • All technical terminology will be clearly explained, which will help EAL and native speakers alike.
  • Questioning and discussion will be used to assess student differences, and the teacher will respond accordingly.
  • Questioning and discussion will allow students to ask catch up or advance their knowledge through their own initiative.
  • The teacher will work closely with students on an individual basis to ascertain and develop their understanding.

What task(s) will allow students the opportunity to respond to the unit question? How will students show what they have understood? For IB, check subject guides and master assessment calendar.

  • Wallpaper design

How will peer and self-assessment be used, rubrics, questioning be used to support learning? How will you deepen students' comprehension and hit higher tier of Blooms Taxonomy?

  • Discussion and questioning will be used throughout to assess student progress.
Activities & Lessons
If you use want to use Gibbon's Smart Blocks, use the content blocks below instead of this section.
  • See content blocks below.


  • See content blocks below.

Interdisciplinary Links
Do not try and force this. What areas of other subjects might this reflect and/discuss language. For IB, links with ToK.


IB Learner Profile Links
How does the unit reflect IB Learner Profile attributes?

  • NA

Approaches to Learning
How will this unit contribute to the overall development of subject-specific and general approaches to learning skills?

  • Students will be encouraged to work independently.
  • Students will be encouraged to solve their own problems.
  • Students will be encouraged to experiment and try new things as they search for a solution which works for them.

Teacher Reflection
What was successful? What needs changing? Alternative Assessments and Lesson Ideas? What other Differentiation Ideas/Plans could be used?

  • 2012-13: this unit was run as Sell A Teacher, and whilst it was successful, there was less time for it next year, so it is being shortened and re-focused.
  • 2014-15: this has proven to be one of the most popular units in Year 7, so it has been shifted to be the first unit of the year. Extra information on Creative Commons and Hong Kong culture have been added.

Unit Smart Blocks

Smart blocks are Gibbon's unique method for organising the content within a unit. Each block represents an element of a lesson, perhaps an activity, a discussion or even an outcome. Here you can simply view the blocks, but if your school runs Gibbon you can use the blocks to create lessons plans, and use drag and drop to quickly move content between lessons.

Block Contents

  • Graphic software allows us to make something out of nothing, to express our creativity.
  • Do you want to learn how to make some epic wallpaper for your laptop?

Block Contents

  • At the end of this unit you will submit your wallpaper design as a PNG file, and this will be assessed.
  • The focuses of this assessment will be:
    • How attractive your design is.
    • The quality and care reflected in your design work.
    • Your use of CC.
    • Your use of drop shadow and 3D effects.
    • Your use of typography.
  • You will receive a comment and an Approaches To Learning grade, but no Attainment grade.

Block Contents

  • Acorn is software which allows you to edit graphic files.
  • Can you use Spotlight to find and launch Acorn?
  • Once you have launched Acorn, create a new image sized at 1680 x 1050 pixels with resolution 72 dpi:

  • Save your new file as a .acorn image.

Block Contents

Creative Commons

  • Let's discuss some of the following ideas:
    • Is it legal to use everything we find on the Internet?
    • What is copyright law?
    • Who does copyright law protect?
    • What are the dangers of copyright law?
    • What is Creative Commons (CC)?
  • If we want to a) be creative & remix and b) stay out of trouble, Creative Commons gives us a huge collection of media to work with.

Your CC Texture

  • The foreground (front) of your wallpaper is going to be a texture (such as a wall, or some wood, or some metal).
  • Can you find a large (see image below for help), Creative Commons licensed texture to use?


  • Once you have found the texture you want, save the largest version of it you can.
  • Also, bookmark the link for the page holding the image, for Creative Commons attribution later on.

Block Contents

  • Now that you have saved your texture, drag the file into your Acorn image.
  • You might want to resize your image to fit. You can do this using Layer > Rotate And Transform > Scale And Rotate in the top menu bar.
  • You should now have something that looks like this:

Block Contents

  • Why do you think we want to use only really large images in this project? Let's discuss this question as a class.

Block Contents

  • I now want you to think about layers in graphics software like Acorn: I will explain the principles behind layers in graphics, so you can improve your understanding.
  • Let's discuss why you think layers are useful?
  • Do you know which file formats maintain layers?
  • Did you know that in Acorn you can change the name of your layers to help keep your work organised? It can get really confusing when you have dozens of layers.

Block Contents

  • As part of your wallpaper, you will cut a hole in the foreground so we can see behind it.
  • To do this you need to A) find a silhouette of the shape you want to cut out B) draw your own shape to cut out.
  • Let's try option A first: please search the web to find a Creative Commons license  of the shape you wish to cut out.
  • Like with the texture, once you find the image you want, download it and also bookmark the page you found it from for your Creative Commons attribution.
  • Hopefully you have something like this:

Block Contents

  • Now we are going to use your silhouette to make a cutout in your foreground
  • Drag your saved cutout file into your wallpaper image in Acorn, and then resize and position as desired.
  • Use the Magic Wand (see image below) tool and shift key, to select all the parts of you silhouette.

  • Now make the foreground layer active:

  • Press the delete key to delete the silhouette shape from the foreground.
  • Now right click on the layer with the silhouette and delete the layer. You should now see through your foreground into the transparent background:

Block Contents

  • The final main part of your wallpaper will be a background that contrasts against the foreground.
  • Search online to find an interesting background image available under Creative Commons.
  • Remember to bookmark the page containing the image so that you can attribute it later on.
  • As an example, the following image might make a good background:

Block Contents

  • Hong Kong has its own, unique style: a result of Eastern and Western influences working side-by-side for many decades.
  • If we were to create a Hong Kong-style wallpaper, what might it look like?
    • Let's use the Think-Pair-Share thinking routine to come up with some ideas of what this might look like.
  • I have prepared my own Epic Hong Kong Wallpaper, which is hidden in the Teacher's Notes.

Teacher's Notes

Block Contents

  • Now take your downloaded background, and drag it into your wallpaper image.
  • In the layers view, drag the background image layer (which will be on top) and move it behind the foreground:

  • Now use the move and resize tools to put your background in just the right position.

Block Contents

  • You now have some time to keep playing with your wallpaper.
  • How can you improve the way your work looks?

Block Contents

  • Filters are effects which you can apply to your graphics to make them look different.
  • Filters can make your work more interesting, creative and original.
  • Some fun filters to try include:
    • Motion blur
    • Drop Shadow
    • Tilt shift
  • Try to make your top layer active, and then apply a drop shadow. Reapply the same shadow a few times, and it will make the foreground appear to pop out from the background.

Block Contents

  • You now have the remainder of the lesson to keep playing with your wallpaper.
  • How can you improve the way your work looks?

Block Contents

  • As you are almost finished with your wallpaper, now is a good time to apply your Creative Commons License.
  • Go to the Creative Common License Chooser and choose the license you want to use.
  • Copy the license image and text to your work, and then add your attribution.

  • Going forward, you need to use Creative Commons for your ICT work, whenever you are
    • a) remixing work created by others or
    • b) creating work that you intend to share online

Block Contents

  • How much time do you spend thinking about text and font? Do you know any history?

  • When using Acorn, you have lots of  control over text and how it is displayed. Some useful controls include:
    • Font type
    • Kerning
    • Line height
    • Size
    • Color
  • You can also get more fonts to install on your computer, from sites such as http://www.1001freefonts.com.
  • Can you make the text on your work look more interesting?

Block Contents

  • You now have the remainder of the lesson to keep playing with your wallpaper.
  • How can you improve the way your work looks?

Block Contents

  • You now have 35 minutes to put the finishing touches on your work.
  • Leave enough time to save your work as a PNG file: png files can be opened by people who don't have Acorn, and are also smaller than Acorn files. When you save, you will lose your layers though, so keep the Acorn file as well in case you want to go back and edit some more.
  • Finally, submit your work to Gibbon.

Block Contents

  • To finish this unit, let's consider the ideas of raster and vector graphics.
  • See Teachers Notes for details.

Teacher's Notes

  • Teacher to introduce students to how graphics are represented, stored and displayed on computers.
  • Most graphics programs store graphics as raster images.
    • What is a raster?
    • When are rasters good?
    • Example raster formats? What are their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Some programs store graphics as vector images
    • What is a vector?
    • When are vectors good?
    • Example vector formats?
  • The Acorn file format (.acorn) uses raster for most elements, but some things (like text) are stored as vectors.
  • Students should use the .acorn format whilst working on the box.


NameYear GroupsDescription
ICT Enabled

Welcome 2015 - Year 7

Students posses the ICT and media skills required for them to operate in and beyond school. They can use these skills to solve problems as they arise.

Media Savvy

Students understand the media as a machine of information manipulation and dissemination, and know how to read media texts accordingly. Students create their own media texts, appropriate for the chosen purpose and audience.

Problem Solving

Students can and will attempt to create solutions to the issues they are faced with.

Sharing & Respecting

Students understand and respect copyright law, whilst using permissive licenses to share their own work with the wider Internet.

Working Independently


This unit was built with, and is powered by, Gibbon (the open, flexible and free school platform) at International College Hong Kong