Loving Our Heritage!

As our second graders learn about the Thanksgiving story, they read Molly’s Pilgrim, a wonderful story that illustrates a pilgrim is anyone who emigrates from another country. The students even dress paper dolls in the native costume of the country from which they came, whether it be recently or years past.

garcia
zabriskie

In addition, students bring in photos of relatives to create a wonderful Heritage video/ePub book complete with narration of their family history!

We use Book Creator, which is a user-friendly app that allows students to add text, photos, narration, background, and so much more. And, the final product can be saved as an ePub book to be read in iBooks or as a video that can be viewed on any device. This is our second year using Book Creator for this project and I am SO glad we changed! Prior to this, students did a tiny part of the project but the teacher had to do the majority of the work. I’m a firm believer that students need to “own” their work and Book Creator does just that!

The children brought in photos and they used their iPads to take “photos of the photos” (they thought that was quite funny!). In this step, they learned how to make sure there was no glare, the image was in focus, and how to crop.

img_6299

The next step was to add the photos to their book. I set up the books in Book Creator prior to this only to save time but students could certainly do this step. We added title and conclusion pages. Selfies were taken for the cover. Background colors were added. Fonts were changed.

img_6303

Next step:¬†importing the photos. The students used their scripts and actual photos to help with this process. A huge help was that parents labeled the backs of photos which made it much easier for the children to place their images. Remember, many of these photos are of great-great-great grandparents and students don’t tend to recognize relatives that far back! I love how the two girls in the photo below worked together to make sure each image was on the correct page; one checked the script while the other added the picture!

fullsizerender

We had a wonderful group of parents who volunteered to help students record. Since we were trying to have as little background noise as possible, finding a quiet place in a school can be a challenge! These parents worked tirelessly to accomplish that.

img_6471

The students then listened to their project, making sure every aspect was just how they wanted it. The project was saved two ways: as an ePub book to be read in iBooks and as a video.

img_6470

I then uploaded everything and linked them on my teaching website, TVS TechnoWizards. Since last names are mentioned, these are behind a password-protected page. Here are a couple of samples pages in the book:

book-1 book-2

The students even blogged about what they had learned about their heritage.

blogging-2

We can’t wait to share our projects this Friday for Grandparents’ Day!

Sharing Our Heritage

Each fall our second graders create a Heritage project to share with grandparents and other relatives. They bring in photos of family members, sometimes from several generations back! Over the years I’ve tried a variety of online applications to make the final product but it’s always been more of a teacher-created project. Parents would email photos or send them on a CD. I would upload them to the student’s home directory. There was a lot of behind-the-scenes work that needed to be done before the child could even begin to record their heritage story!

This year we decided to use the Book Creator app, an easy-to-use ePub book maker that allows the user to import pictures and record narration. Besides saving as an eBook, the finished product can also be exported as a video.

We asked the parents to send actual photos. The students really giggled when I said they were going to take photos of their photos! After a photography lesson, the children scattered around the room in search of the perfect place to take their picture. They watched for glare from the lights, checked for blurriness, learned how to crop.

IMG_3872IMG_3862Next step was to insert the pictures into the Book Creator app.

IMG_3851The following week we worked on the cover of the book. What child can resist taking a selfie?

IMG_3887The students also added page colors and chose a font style and color.

IMG_3883The children are in the process of recording their heritage narrations. Then I’ll be uploading the finished ePub books and videos to the web so that their fantastic, student-created work can be shared with family and friends!

A “Peeps” Look at Texas History

Marshmallow Peeps (image from Peeps website)

Have you ever wondered what happens to all those boxes of Peeps bunnies after Easter? In Mrs. Malone’s 4th grade Social Studies classes, they became a part of Texas history!

The students were asked to use the Peeps to create dioramas that would illustrate a part of Texas history, symbols/cities of our state, famous people, etc. Mrs. Malone asked me how we could use technology to share the information with others. I suggested Book Creator because this app has the ability to save the project as an ePub book OR as a video.

The 4th graders worked in groups of 3 or 4 to research their topic and then the diorama building began! Blue, yellow, purple, white, pink, orange marshmallow bunnies quickly became soldiers at the Alamo, students, cowboys, and SO MUCH more! Of course you can’t build with Peeps unless you are allowed to nibble, so each child had their very own for that purpose. The next step was using the iPad to take a photo of the finished diorama. The image was brought into the Book Creator app and the group recorded what they had learned. Then, each group emailed their book to me so that all could be merged into one book containing all the topics.

Below is the video version of the book.


Here is a link to the ePub version. (Remember to tap on the link while on an iOS device having the iBooks app installed. Choose Download > Open in iBooks)

A “Peep” at Texas History

What a fun way to learn and share some history of our state!