Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Authoring Student Texts with the Book Creator App

Kindergarten teacher Vicky Campbell and I recently discussed a research project she was planning for her students. She wanted them to learn more about some of the animals they would see on an upcoming field trip to The Farmer's Inn, but their limited reading and Internet search skills were hindering them.

My first impulse was to create a hotlist of K-appropriate web sites and pictures. Then I remembered reading a couple of blog posts by Kindergarten teacher Kristi Meeuwse, who created books for her students using the Book Creator app:
So I decided I would write a few animal books for Mrs. Campbell's kiddos! Vicky provided a list of animals in which her students were particularly interested, along with the questions she wanted them to be able to answer.

The Process

  1. I researched each of the animals using quality web sites.
  2. I gathered pictures of each animal and saved them to my iPad. I was careful to use only pictures in the public domain from Pixabay or, as a last resort, pictures with Creative Commons licensing. 
  3. On my iPad, I created a book for each animal using the Book Creator app, wrote about each, and inserted pictures.
  4. I added sound to each page so students could listen to, as well as read, the books.
  5. I chose "Export as ePub" and exported the completed books to my Google Drive app. Then I "shared" each book with Vicky in my Google Drive.
  6. To install the books on the students' iPads, Vicky logged into the Google Drive app on each iPad with her Google Apps credentials, found the shared books, and clicked "Open in iBooks." This took only minutes and added a copy of each book to the iBooks app on every iPad.

Vicky then created a research web to guide the students as they read and listened to the books. She said they have done a great job with their research because they have the option of hearing the information that was perhaps too difficult for them to read!

Kristi Meeuwse quickly creates books for her students' iPads based on their curricular needs and interests. I think these teacher-written Book Creator books could be used:
  • To provide background information before starting a new science or social studies unit.
  • To introduce new sight and vocabulary words.
  • To provide incentive for struggling readers and let them read about areas of interest.
Since the Book Creator app is so user friendly, even the youngest students can create books to share with their peers. Students can also easily add these books to their personal iPods or iPads for use beyond the school day.

Please add your ideas in the Comments section below! Keystone teachers, I'd love to teach you how to make books for your students with the Book Creator app.

Take a look at a few screenshots from my animal books. I had a blast creating them!

Related post:  Kindergarten Students Write About Math

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