By my count, it’s day 146 of self-isolation, and I think it’s finally sent me into the deep end. Units across the world are finding new ways of meeting online, and for some of us, we’re struggling to make it less like school and more like Scouts. But how do we find new ways of using our virtual resources, especially when we’re feeling tapped out on creativity and time? We look to our educators. Those fine folks are real-life magicians, pulling the most incredible ideas out of what seems like thin air. Truth is, they’re just that good!
Gobs of my teacher friends are utilizing their Bitmoji characters to create a digital version of their classroom, complete with clickable resources and personalized decorations, to help create the feel of a home room in an otherwise boring format. I wondered if the same could be done for Den and Pack meetings, and yep… it can.
So, what’s a Bitmoji, you ask? It’s a super cute, easy to customize, personal emoji. It’s a digital character that can be personalized to look just like you. You simply download the app from the Apple Store or Google Play, and get to customizing. Mine is eerie, it’s just about a dead ringer! Disclosure: No, you cannot customize your Bitmoji with a full Scouting uniform. The shirt and pants are available, but I added the rest using my graphic design software!
After you’ve made yourself and finish looking at yourself in a million different Bitmoji scenarios, laughing at your emoji’s sarcasm and snarkiness, you can do a search for “pose” and find full-bodied images of yourself doing fun things like wave. The best part is, you can then save that image to your device or send it to your email and drop it right into your favorite graphic design software to further customize it if you’d like… adding patches, a neckerchief, etc. You will need to remove the white background and save yourself as a transparent image so you can then drop yourself onto a background.
Don’t have graphic design software? No problem. Use a website like remove.bg to give any image a transparent background.
Let’s talk about background settings, starting with where you’re using them. I use mine in Google Slides, dropping them in and resizing them to fit the slide, then adding transparent images to build the room the way I want to. This is a fun opportunity to bring Scouts to their den meeting space without ever leaving their house.
Why you are using them depends on your needs:
- as a static greeting while your Zoom meeting gathers. This is a fun way of sharing your screen and letting Scouts know what’s coming in the next hour, almost like a graphic agenda.
- as an interactive tool while you host your Zoom meeting. You can customize your slides by making any image or text a hyperlink, clicking along as you go. Need to show a video on first aid? No problem! Just drop in the first aid kit from my transparent images pack and link it to the video of your choice. Then, as you’re hosting your meeting, just click the image of the first aid kit and you’re in business. This is far easier than clicking between tabs or trying to remember a URL on the fly.
How you use backgrounds in Google Slides is fairly straight forward, especially if you’ve ever used a program like PowerPoint. Open a new presentation and drop your background in. You might need to resize it to fit your slide, but that’s pretty simple to do. Start decorating by dropping in transparent images and adjusting your layering as you need to. Don’t forget Bitmoji you!
If you’re having one of those nights where a meeting needs to be cancelled, you can create a Google Slideshow that you share with parents via email, ScoutBook, social media, etc. Just click the yellow “Share” button in the top right corner and a link will be generated that you can copy and paste into your favorite method of communication. Make it interactive, use the white board to share a list of requirements Scouts can complete at home, and any other instructions they’ll need to have a successful night at home.
Get creative! Did your Webelos / AOLs work on the Moviemaking Adventure? Have them upload their videos to YouTube, then click Insert > Video to embed their movie right onto the movie screen! Don’t forget the popcorn.
FREE Download on Teachers Pay Teachers
>> Bitmoji Scouting Themed Den and Pack Meeting Settings and Accessories
A collection of seventeen setting templates, custom “artwork” for the walls, and over 50 transparent accessory graphics, all in a Scouting theme!
Go virtual with Den and Pack meetings and bring your meeting space to your Scouts, right from your desktop!
· Five blank room templates (gray, navy, blue, tan, green)
· Five den meeting templates (Lion, Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos)
· Five Oath, Law, Outdoor Code templates (gray, navy, blue, tan, green)
· Two special event templates (birthday and camping)
· Seven custom artwork graphics (Oath, Law, Pocketknife Pledge, and more)
· 50+ transparent accessory graphics (shelves, tables, tents, rugs, whiteboards, tents, plants, lighting, pets, and more)
>> Bitmoji Scouting Themed Expansion Pack, now including GSUSA!
· four additional Scouting scenes
· seven GSUSA themed scenes
· 40 new transparent accessories, including Scout neckerchiefs in seven colors, GSUSA-themed Oath and Law artwork, additional lighting, windows with views, seating, and more
· Transparent images and full setting backgrounds that can be used for GSUSA, Scouts BSA, and Cub Scouts
So, what do you think?
Will you create your own Bitmoji you? Will you use Google Slides and my Bitmoji settings for your Den and/or Pack meetings? Have you already used resources like this? How did it go?
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Yours in Scouting,