Monthly Archives: November 2014

Publishing Writing using Tech

I give my students choices about how to publish their writing. We have enough iPads in our class for 10 students to publish using them.  At the beginning of the year, they were reluctant to publish using the iPads as it meant they wouldn’t have time to make a ‘real book’. How far we’ve come. I am very proud that at this point in the year, my students (and myself, I guess) are more open to and aware of the myriad of ways there are to publish writing. They have come around to the idea that just because it isn’t printed doesn’t mean someone can’t read it or listen to it and enjoy it as a text. Here are some of the different ways my students have published this term.


Book Creator If you don’t have this – get it! There are SO many ways it can be used! Book Creator allows users to create an eBook that can include text, pictures, videos, drawings/annotations and voice recordings and sounds. It has a very simple interface and is easy for students to navigate without much support at all! You have the choice to turn it into an interactive eBook that allows you to push buttons to play audio, or a video that plays through the pages and recordings automatically.

Photo 255 1 from Emily Fintelman on Vimeo.




Adobe-Voice-app-for-iPad-allows-users-to-create-a-video-presentationAdobe Voice     This app allows you to make simple, animated videos. You select a theme, record your voice and choose pictures from the range of images available, or add your own. The app creates good looking videos, with not too much work by the user. Again, this app is not too difficult for students to find their way around. It requires a log in.




icon_256imovie-0624Kids Doodle and iMovie  To do this one, we learnt a bit about ‘app smashing’. Kids Doodle allowed students to draw their illustrations, and recorded it as they drew. Students then saved the video and created an iMovie to record their voice over the top of the video they had inserted. This created a very unique style and was a very effective way for my kids to present their narratives. Listen out for the sneaky sound effect in this one.


telligami-iconTellagami   Tellagami is an avatar creator which allows you to pick a character and background, and make your avatar talk and move either by recording your voice or by typing the text. You can also choose your avatar’s voice. Again, this one is really simple for kids to use and the end result looks fantastic. There is a time limit of 30 seconds with the edu version, but this can be overcome by recording a few videos, then stringing them all together in iMovie. Simple.


The downside (?) to using Adobe Voice, Tellagami and Kids Doodle is that students do not get to present their actual written work. I found this difficult to reconcile myself to at first because we had spent a lot of time and effort looking into spelling, speech marks, paragraphs and lots of other secretarial aspects of writing. But I guess telling kids that if their narrative isn’t “written” in its culminating stage that it is not done correctly, is equal to telling Woody Allen his films aren’t done because not many people have read his stories off a page. I had to remind myself (and my class) of the purpose of their writing. Have you written it to entertain someone? How can you best do that?

Do you have any different ways you encourage students to publish? Any cool apps I should know about?

Group Roles: Everybody Loves Lanyards!

Photo 576

As mentioned in a previous post I recently ran a CBL unit in my classroom with students working on solutions in small groups for the first time. This seemed daunting but it actually was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. For the most part, teams worked together efficiently and the classroom ran smoothly when I thought chaos was sure to reign.

One idea I introduced was group member tasks; each member of the group had a set responsibility that allowed the groups to work together with all jobs being filled. I know this is an old idea but I’ve never used it before and it worked like a dream. The quiet kids got a chance to be heard, the bossy kids had to step back and concentrate on their own jobs, the kids that previously rode on the wave of the group had to fulfil a job so they wouldn’t let down the team down, and most importantly, everyone got a lanyard. Nothing makes people feel important like a lanyard does. 

The roles:

  • Chairperson: not the boss, but the facilitator. The chairperson has to run votes on decisions, make sure all group members get a say and  no-one dominates conversations.
  • Documenter: this person keeps all notes, pictures, papers and documents and bits and pieces that accumulate throughout the project. They take photos and videos of tasks as they group complete them, and are responsible for having footage for the group’s solution video.
  • Scribe: self-explanatory and very difficult for grade 2s! They take notes on all important decisions and discussions and are in charge of any writing that takes place, such as on posters.
  • Reporter: this person reminds the group what they are up to each time they meet, and are responsible for filling in the teacher on progress during group conferences, and report back to the class on what the group is doing.
  • Resource getter: a fancy title, to be sure. They quite obviously collect resources (such as iPads, paper, construction materials) when needed, and is the only person allowed to ask the teacher for help when it is needed (and the group CANNOT continue without help).

I made the role cards for each student to wear using Canva, and you can download them here. Tip: print them nine-to-a-page to make them lanyard size.

 Are there any roles you think are important that I’ve missed?

How do you manage responsibilities within groups?