photograph your kid’s 3-D artwork in 5 easy steps

So a clay horse and a dragon walk into a bar  . . . 

Or, more likely, sit in a box under the bed . . . 

Step One: (Minutes)

Unpack the artwork.  Admire it in all its lumpy glory.  Ask about the project - what was fun, what was hard.   (If you’re feeling super organize-y make some notes about what they say).

Step Two: (Seconds)

Set up the light shed.  So, here’s where a piece of photo equipment really makes the difference.  I have an Impact Medium Light ShedIt costs $45, is collapsible, sets up in seconds and hangs in my closet.  It makes a world of difference.  I am not a photographer and not technical, but this thing is super easy to use. This is my setup - it looks silly, but works.

Step Three: (Minutes) 

Take pictures of the art. Using your camera phone, take 3-4 pictures of each of the pieces.  

The black velvety background generally reads best.  I use a lint brush to take off little bits of stuff on the black.  Play around with your lamps to get the best light.  Get the black as dark as you can and the art as true to its colors, but again, don’t stress, you’re going to be editing the picture on your phone later.

Step Four: (Whenever)

Edit the pictures. 

This is super easy.  Use the edit screen in your camera or download Snapseed from the app store.  Play around with the brightness, contrast, color and shadows, until it looks super sharp.  You can make the black background really deep if you go under Light and play around with Shadow and Black Point. (You can do this while waiting on hold with the airline). 

Step Five: (Minutes)

Create a Record in trovvit.  Download the trovvit app from the App Store (it’s free!). Set up an account in your kid’s name.  Follow the instructions to create a Record, and save it to your kid's trove under Art

You're done!  A whole year's worth of sculpts, puppets and papermache recorded in trovvit!  

You can share the artwork PRIVATELY with family members - they’ll see it in a fun feed and get email notifications when you post something new!  You can also pull all your records together in a trovvit portfolio - Hello, art school!

trovvit is not just for artwork - stay tuned for more trovvit tricks on how to record kids’ games, performances, projects (model boat building, vegetable garden), travels and milestones.  

Psst! Tell your friends and family about trovvit and please give us a super review in the App Store. (We all like stars on our work!)

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What makes your child tick?

by Ashley Goodale

On October 20, The Washington Post published an interesting Opinion piece by Phyllis Fagell, entitled Not just high schoolers anymore: my middle school students are feeling the pressure to succeed.   The author, a middle school counselor in Bethesda, Md. observes that,

"as a community, we are not making it easy for kids to take the risks that lead to self-discovery. The stress level among my 13 and 14-year-old students approximates what I saw several years ago when I counseled high school seniors. There is a sense that they need to follow a prescribed path, to perform well in every discipline. Parents and students fear that even middle school choices might have an impact on college admissions. As a result, when students earn a low grade or don’t like their math placement or get cut from a team, they can become unmoored."

Ms. Fagell encourages parents to,

"give students permission to be brave explorers. We can emphasize that the highs and lows are both useful because they reveal what makes them tick — what sparks their intellectual curiosity and brings them joy. At the dinner table, we can ask them about their favorite (and most detested) subjects. We can gently inquire whether they actually like playing travel soccer four days a week. Maybe they have been thinking they might like to try cooking or painting.”

Finally, Ms. Fagell argues that in order to lower our children’s stress levels, we need to “honor what makes them unique and help them develop self-awareness.”  

Here at trovvit, we think fostering your child’s passions is key to their future happiness.  We can honor what makes them unique by keeping track of what is engaging our children – uploading a picture of their drawing of a ball gown, a trip to the local Science museum, a certificate from a coding class.  We can help them develop self awareness by showing them what is collected in their trovvit account, and encouraging them to add to it.  And what trovvit can do is help create a visual history of “what makes them tick - what sparks their intellectual curiosity and brings them joy.”

What I learned at the New York Times Symposium on College Admissions and Preparation

NYTIMES logo.png

By Laurel Watts

I spent Saturday in a packed auditorium at the New York Times Building and heard from five panels about the best way to go about applying to college.   The panel participants gave thoughtful, detailed advice to an audience that appeared to be 75% parents and 25% students

Know thyself

The overall takeaway was “know thyself.”  Or, as Sarah Meyers McGinty said, ask yourself, “How do I roll?”

In order to choose a college that is a good “fit,” you need to know who you are and what you are interested in.  Amy Jarich, Admissions, Berkeley

To write a compelling college essay in your authentic voice, you need to reflect on yourself -- what personality trait you would like to convey and what story in your life reveals that trait.  Sarah Myers McGinty, Education researcher and author.

Or conversely, what interesting story do you have to tell and how does that story reveal your thinking, writing skill, personality?  Bruce Weber, New York Times.

College rankings are meaningless, unless the criteria by which they are ranked are important criteria to you.  Jordan Goldman, founder of Unigo.

Finally, “College is a transformative experience, so ask “How do I want to be different?”  Alexander McCormick, Director, Nat’l Survey on Student Engagement.

All good.  But, at 15 or 16 years old, how do you know yourself?  Where do you start?  

Sarah Myers McGinty suggested that students begin in ninth grade to stockpile potential material -- a list of things done in the community, in their context.  She suggested that students keep a file on the computer “where you can throw stuff.  Look into your life, if you understand this moment or commitment, you can understand me.” Evan Cranston, a recent Brown graduate said, “I wish I had the advice of keeping a list of the really cool things I did in my life.”

As my kids, Skye and Charlie, add materials to their trovvit accounts, a story emerges.  Actually, several possible stories emerge from their trovvit records organized into narratives.  A record of an award won.  A record of a weekly practice, an annual puppet parade, a game lost, a tough hike, a poetry collection.   Their “stockpile” on trovvit will serve them well in only a few years . . .