Friday, December 6, 2013

Kindergarten Students Using Book Creator

Last year, I wrote a post about Book Creator. Mel and I had used it for our poetry celebration and the students loved typing their poems, selecting pictures to go with them, and then recording themselves reading the poems. I also used this app with some of my students with special needs so that they could dictate stories across the pages. When I worked in the classroom, I was always using my iPad with my students and I was always impressed at how intuitive this technology was for them--they always could figure out more than I could. This week, I was reminded of this when I went to visit a kindergarten class.

The teacher had been asking me to come during learning centers for about a week. I was a little surprised because usually I go to classrooms during workshop. "You won't believe what they are doing independently," she said. I am so glad that I made it to the opposite end of the building because she was not exaggerating. The students are in the middle of their Looking Closely unit. They have collections of various natural items--leaves, rocks, twigs, acorns--and during writing workshop, they have been writing about what they notice when they look closely at these objects--it's a great integration of science and writing! However, during learning centers, three students worked on iPads, using Book Creator to make digital books.

I sat and watched these children turn on the iPad, open the app, create a new book, and get to work. One of the girls was clearly the table expert. "How do you do the recording?" a writer asked. "Here, I'll show you." She tapped on an icon and created a recording. Then, she deleted the recording and instructed her classmate to go ahead and try it herself. Success followed, and both girls continued their work. How is that for collaboration and independence?

The stick is long.
Since the app offers the choice of writing with a finger or using a keyboard, I watched one student write his words with his finger. He took a picture of the stick that he was observing, and then got right to work crafting the words that would go with his observations. His only struggle was having the iPad upside down and making the cover swing awkwardly. As soon as his teacher reminded him to keep the cover on the down-side, he was independent. This same child worked for a little while without the iPad while I was watching and I took a picture of his digital work sample, as well as his written sample.
The stick is short.
I definitely found myself wondering why he remembered to space his words on the iPad, but not on the paper. I think that there is a tremendous opportunity for transfer here, as this could definitely be pointed out to him.




I loved watching the girls work on their book, as well. In the fifteen minutes that I watched, the resident expert Book Creator wrote four pages about her observations of an acorn. Each page had not only the typed words, but also the recording of her reading the words. The app does indicate misspellings and I was so glad to see her ignore the red lines underneath her words, or I wouldn't get to share my favorite page that she wrote:
It has three swirls on it.
 Again, I have to reiterate, all I was doing was sitting and watching the children work. They took pictures, typed or wrote, and recorded anywhere between two and four pages. "You should see some of the other books some of the kids have done," the teacher said to me before I left, and she showed me the digital shelf of books that students had written on other days. Amazing work in a kindergarten classroom.

Enjoy the weekend,



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