Numeracy learning journals with Book Creator

Stuart HammersleyCase study, Math, Special Education

Some useful insights into a usable Book Creator workflow. Isn’t it great when we learn from each other?

Personal Learning Network

I first heard about Book Creator through Neil Emery – my good friend, Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) and Director of our training partner, Trilby. He came to do some initial training for my establishment when we first got two class sets of iPads.

I am thankful to be part of a great Personal Learning Network, and regularly get involved in Twitter chats to discuss SEN and ideas for using apps. We really get to bounce ideas off each other, and push classroom practice as a result!

After reading an excellent post by ADE Marc Faulder (@MarcWithersey) about a workflow that he employs in his early years classroom for maths journals, it made me think about the workflows that have been working so well in my SEN classroom.

I’m not for one second suggesting that this is a one size fits all approach, but I have found this to be successful (with some slight tweaks) over the last couple of years!

Apps referenced in this blog post

The process I use

The children in the class start a new ebook each week using Book Creator (the bread and butter of my classroom suite of apps!). We make sure to title the book so that we can easily find it and put the week date on it (normally Mondays, but things happen in schools!).

I always print out an A4 copy of the WALT (substitute with other letters such as LI) and the success criteria for each group, each day, and they use the camera and take a snapshot of this and add to their book.

Time - numeracy book in Book Creator

They then complete the work using whatever tools they decide to use, some of our current favourites are: Explain Everything, camera, recording each other on video, and the Pen tool in Book Creator.

This is then marked in the Book Creator app against the WALT and success criteria, next steps added if needed and verbal feedback given to the children. The next day the same process takes place in the same book and so on, until we reach Friday.

Exporting the books – what we’ve learned

When a week is complete, this normally coincides with a change of Numeracy topic, at which point we need to ‘move’ the work to a suitable location, for moderation and future assessment.

We used to do this by exporting the ePub to FileBrowser Or WebDAV Nav, to get it onto the school network and then print off a copy for the child’s folder (a process that frustrated me and others!). This was so overly complicated that it was an adult led task.

Students working on iPads

Since then, I’ve discovered the SeeSaw Learning Journal app, and we have been able to hand the final step of the process over to the children too, they now create and export/file their work independently (I wonder if they’ll be able to mark their own work!?!)

The quality of the work the children are creating using this method is fantastic and I’m pretty sure they are making greater achievements compared to conventional maths book and pencil learning.

I feel I also need to mention the app, RNG (Random Number Generator) which has been used a lot in the last few months to give the children numbers to use in a variety of tasks!

Stuart Hammersley has been a Special Educational Needs (SEN) teacher since 2009 and has always had a keen interest in using technology to enhance and engage in the classroom.

He is a teacher, computing co-ordinator and Birmingham SEN Apple Regional Training Centre (RTC) manager. He’s also a Book Creator Ambassador.

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