Ms. Patterson’s Kindergarten class read several books on being thankful and discussed people and things for which they are grateful. Using paper and crafts, they then created a Thanksgiving table for their bulletin board that showcased the foods they would be eating with their families for Thanksgiving. Each student dictated their own thoughtful idea aloud with the teacher recording their audio using the LiveScribe pens. Family and community members could touch each student’s name on the bulletin board with the LiveScribe and hear, in their own words, each child’s message of thanks.
When looking for a tool to combine informational writing, images, links and video, the Ms. Burke’s Fifth Grade class found just what they were looking for with Glogs. Glogs are interactive online “posters” created through the website Glogster.edu. A free account allows up to 10 students and the paid account ($29.95 per year) allows up to 50 students, which isn’t bad considering you can delete and re-add students as needed.
The unit was kicked off by exploring several Native American tribes as a group. Students were then given independent time to read and choose a tribe or tribal region on which to focus their research and writing.
Glogster is a relatively intuitive program, it’s interface offering buttons that allow users to insert a text, image, video, audio or web link. Because it doesn’t include a spell check feature, it’s critical for students to first type their work into a word processing tool and copy/paste their text over into their Glog. This also allows them to separate their text into paragraphs, which will become easy to navigate separate sections.
The three second grade classrooms at Kennedy-Longfellow School spent the month of January researching and writing about non-fiction topics of their choice. Prompted by the Lucy Caulkins curriculum unit question “write about something you are an expert about”, students began entries in their writer’s notebooks on diverse topics such as Egypt, families, sharks, and math. After studying mentor texts and discussing what makes writing informational, students used their prior knowledge of the subject to plan out their chapters, or subcategories. Working closely with their teachers, each student began the process of writing and revising their work on paper. Once carefully edited, it was time to type their work into the iPad, where they would each be creating an eBook using the Book Creator app. A critical piece of the Caulkins curriculum is the student presentation of their work. Each of the second grades held an “Expert Fair”, where other students, teachers, and family members were invited to come watch and listen as students presented their eBooks on the SmartBoard.
True to traditional informational books, each student eBook included a cover page, table of contents, at least three chapters and a glossary: