Friday, January 8, 2016

Snowmen at Night Books Using Book Creator

We completed a really cute project in Mrs. Davey's first grade class today.  This project combined traditional art with writing and three iPad apps.  I am going to highlight the steps the students completed, and then share a couple of examples of finished products.  The activities listed below were done over the course of several days.  :)

1) Mrs. Davey read her students the story Snowmen at Night by Carolyn Buehner.  After reading the story, together they brainstormed some ideas about what they think snowmen might do at night, and recorded their ideas onto chart paper.
2) In their writing journals, the students wrote their own sentences about what snowmen might do at night.  They could use the class examples, or come up with their own.  They were encouraged to write at least two sentences.

3) The students made crayon resist drawings of snowmen at night, using white crayons and then watercolor painting over the top.  They turned out adorable!

4) We used the app Make a Scene: Christmas ($2.99) to create a snowman illustration.  The 1st graders were encouraged to use only the stickers that made sense for a wintertime story (not the Christmas-y stickers).  They were reminded how to save their illustration to the iPad camera roll (click the 3 lines in the corner then "snapshot").

5) The students opened the app Book Creator to begin putting their books together.  They had used this app one time before, so it was a bit of a review.  Their job was to:
  • Begin a new book and choose "portrait" as the orientation
  • Add the illustration they just made to their cover (+, "photos")
  • Add the title and author to their cover (+, "text")
  • Make their cover "fancy" by using the inspector elements to change the font, size, and colors (i)
  • Click the right arrow and begin a new page
  • Use the camera to add a photograph of their crayon resist drawing (+, "camera")
  • Resize the photo and then add text (copying the sentences they wrote from their writing journal drafts)
  • They could add as many pages/sentences as they like
  • After typing, they went back to each page and recorded the words from the page (+, "add sound")
I know this seems like a lot, but giving students time to explore and discover on their own works great. They will have a lot of questions at first - in fact, it is really nice having more than one person in the room to help problem solve and answer questions.  But as they become more comfortable with the features of this app, they are able to work independently and they are eager to help one another!  It is so cool to see them figure this stuff out!

6) Once the books were done, we made sure we were logged into the digital learning journal app Seesaw, then went back to Book Creator and exported the books as videos (I have another more lengthy blog post about this, if you're interested).  Basically, you will click the share button (rectangle with an arrow) and then "export as video".  When the options of where to export to come up, you should be able to choose Seesaw.  If you don't see Seesaw listed, click the circle with dots that says "more" and toggle Seesaw on.  It will now show up as an export option each time you try this.  This works so easily!!  It will export the video directly to Seesaw, where parents and classmates will be able to view and listen to their work.  

If you want to try this and need help, let me know!  Book Creator is one of my favorite apps to use, and I'd love to help you learn it.  There is a free version that allows you to make one book.  The paid version is $4.99, but this is one of the most versatile apps you will find!  Here are some examples of Mrs. Davey's kids' work.

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