My students were inspired to create an ebook about life in the 2nd grade. Here’s what they came up with.
iPad explorations in 2nd grade
Our school has been running a project called iPad explorations in 2nd grade, where students have had the opportunity not only to read ebooks but also create them. Our 1st grade students produced a butterfly book which my class enjoyed reading and they loved the beautiful illustrations. This inspired them to create an ebook of their own.
The class decides together
Julia, who loves looking at the daily agenda, suggested that it would be fun to write a book about a day in 2nd grade. After discussions with the class, we settled on the plan to collaboratively create a book detailing “A Week in 2nd Grade.”
The first step was a collaborative brainstorming session to decide the most important and interesting things to include in the book. It was decided that each student would be responsible for writing and illustrating (via a photo taken with the iPad) one page. After deciding what to include and assigning pages, students used a graphic organizer as a pre-write to brainstorm ideas for their topic.
From paper and pencil to iPad
The next step in the process was to write a paragraph using paper and pencil. Finally, students were ready to use Book Creator on the iPad to create their page. As students worked on various stages of the writing process, teachers met one-on-one with the students to help them edit their writing.
Because this process was quite long, not every piece of writing was perfectly edited. We felt that it was important to actually finish the project and publish the book and teachers did not edit student work without the student’s participation. The writing you see, therefore, is authentic 2nd grade work and may contain some errors in spelling or grammar.
Sharing with parents
Parents who own an iPad or iPhone could download the ePub file and directly drop it into their iTunes library. Once you sync your device with iTunes, you are able to read our ebook.
For those parents who don’t own an Apple device, we also went to the length of publishing the book via Issuu, as per below.
Reflections on using Book Creator to create an ebook
Being my first time using the iPads to create an ebook with students, I found that the learning curve was high for me. I think we started this project in November or December, and it wasn’t until February that I finally “published” the ebook in a format that parents can access on their own iPads.
The part where the students used Book Creator was very straightforward and quite easy.Some of the issues were not learning-curve related, but were the usual school stuff: waiting for a sick student to return to school, scheduling problems, etc. The bulk of the issues were more related to management than actually using the iPads.
It was management and organization, as well as the post-production that posed a challenge for me. I definitely became fluent with the process of taking screen shots and editing them on the iPad. The most challenging part was converting the ePub file to PDF for sharing on Issuu. In the end, once I found out how to do it (using Preview), this wasn’t difficult either.
Was it worth it? I definitely learned enough to do it better next time. I hope that the kids are still excited about the book and that the parents will read it with them on their iPads.
Andrea Hernandez is a Google Certified Teacher and teaches at Martin J. Gottlieb Day School in Florida, USA.