eBooks anyone? For Grade 2 students, they are just the thing to show what they have learned. Much of January and early February was spent exploring nonfiction text features in their classroom and in the library. Features such as headings, captions, index, glossary, types of print were investigated, all with the underlying question of, "How does this feature help me read and understand nonfiction?" Students spent 1 library time learning about iPads and an app called Scribble Press. Scribble Press allows you to create all kinds of eBooks. You can make your own or choose from many different topics already created. There is also an art section. We have found it very easy to use and the kids love it! The following 2 library times students worked in pairs to create eBooks by photographing and explaining various nonfiction text features. We will then post the link to their books on our library web site for others to view and use. It has been a big motivator for them to have these books published. They do not want their work to be anything but their best. A real bonus for me is when they tell me that they asked their parents to put Scribble Press on their iPad at home because they liked it so much. Links to their work coming soon!
How many times have I heard students complain, "But no one is going to read this anyway!" In my many years as a 5th & 6th grade teacher and now as a teacher librarian, I have heard this echoed so many times. It has given me a lot to think about and in these days with technology readily available, I am putting it to use to solve just that problem. Working collaboratively with teachers in grades 2 and 4, along with our tech integration specialist, I am able to help kids see their work shared far beyond where they would ever have believed.
As the students in 4th grade create web sites about a region of the United States, they are beginning to realize that what they have been learning about in language arts really means something now. "Are you being respectful to your reader when you don't use proper capitalization and punctuation?" I ask. When they use 3 different shades of green on a green background, I tell them that if I came to their web site, I would click away immediately. "Why?" they ask. "Because it is too hard to read," I say. And they nod and admit that it is true and change it to something more readable.
These same students are now willing to REVISE their work over and over, checking for even the slightest mistake, because they know that their audience is bigger than just one person. What a crucial lesson.
The 4th graders are completing a collaborative project about a Connecticut symbol or important figure. They researched during library time, took their notes back to their classroom to create an expository piece with their teacher, and came back to the library to create podcasts using Garageband. I have watched students rehearse over and over, making changes to their paragraphs until they sound just right, because they know they will have a larger audience. These podcasts will be put into a Prezi and will be posted to the Student Work part of the library website.
Grade 2 students are also hard at work, but this time using iPads. After learning about nonfiction and how the features of nonfiction can help you understand what you are reading, students are creating eBooks using a free app called Scribble Press. Working in pairs, they are photographing and describing different nonfiction features such as headings, indexes, captions, and more. Then a link to their books will be posted on the Student Work section of the library web site. Even developing a title for their book has really made them do some serious thinking. What is this book about? If someone reads your title, what are they going to think the book is about? They are taking their writing very seriously too - they understand that many people will be reading their books and they want to be proud of their work.
It has been fascinating observing these students. They care. A lot. When given an authentic task, they have responded with effort that may not be seen when completing a worksheet. They are very proud of their work and can't wait to see it published.
The Book Basket idea is working wonderfully! Teachers are so excited to see books from the library that are new to them and I am thrilled to have them taking a look at some of the great reads we have here. Not all books are scooped up that day, but I get lots of notes that say, "Remind me of this later this year when we are studying haiku." For those of you wanting to try this, I try to balance titles that go with curricular topics, with some that are just plain great books. I also try to give them a mix of fiction and nonfiction, particularly since Common Core emphasizes that. All in all, it was an idea that really did work. Not much time on my part, but hopefully connects the teachers with the library. Maybe I should add chocolate?
Mrs. Lussier is a Library Media Specialist at Brewster Elementary School in Durham, CT. I am passionate about getting kids reading (ok, everyone!), wondering, using technology and having FUN!
The Nonfiction Detectives
A Year of Reading
Great Kid Books
Free Technology for Teachers
The Styling Librarian
The Book Whisperer
The Busy Librarian
Barrow Library Media Center
Watch. Connect. Read.
Kid Lit Frenzy
The Daring Librarian
Librarian in Cute Shoes
Read Write Reflect
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