Ebooks Abound

This spring, published authors are sprouting up all over the Kennedy-Longfellow School. From poetry to scientific research, students in the K-5th grade classrooms have been writing and publishing their works using two unique ebook applications. Once adopted in a couple classrooms, the ebook craze has continued to spread: a mentor-inspired storybook in kindergarten, poetry collections in second grade, biome research projects in third grade, and class bio poems in fourth grade, just to name a few.

During April, Ms. Cocuzzo and Ms. Hanna’s first grade classrooms wrote a wide variety of poetry inspired by authors such as Douglas Florian. Once poems were edited, students typed final drafts into the computer and created corresponding artwork capturing their poem’s essence. Using the application PhotoBooth, they practiced reading their poems aloud, checking their own reading fluency before recording final versions on the iPad. The poems, artwork and audio files were then compiled into an application called iBooks Author and exported onto the iPad as a fully interactive ebook. One first grader commented that the collection “is good because you get to listen to everybody’s poems and the pictures are so nice. I like people’s poems because they thought a lot about their ideas.”

biome_content.jpgMr. Rocco’s third grade classroom took a scientific approach by publishing individual research reports on biomes of the world. Index cards were filled with rough notes, which students then drafted into five paragraph research papers. Students conducted image research using online databases and typed finalized reports into iPads. They then organized their reports in an iPad application called Creative Book Builder and published them to the iPad’s virtual library. What made this process so unique was what Mr. Rocco explained as the students’ “inherent tech savviness”. He describes how the students were “able to work with the tool as if it were an extension of themselves. I gave them minimal instruction on how the app worked, and they were off and running!”

Most recently, the fifth graders in Ms. English’s class published their realistic fiction short stories. Using the iPad app ArtStudio, students created customized illustrations that reflected their story’s themes and brought them into Creative Book Builder to publish. “Having the stories collected as a virtual library is a great way to share student work with their peers and family,” Ms. English explains. “On Academic night, parents flipped through the work, having the chance to read and browse through not just their child’s, but other student work as well.” The students also took clear pride in their independence. From start to finish, they were each in control of the entire production process, oftentimes jumping in to assist each other with technical questions.

We hear a lot about ebooks and digital publishing these days in the news. It’s exciting to think that we have in-house publishing capabilities right here at Kennedy-Longfellow. In Ms. English’s class, there was a domino effect of student faces lighting up each time an ebook was exported and the teacher exclaimed: “Congratulations, you’re a published author!”

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