More than you think! I drew a squiggle in the Book Creator app, added an “About the Illustrator” page and airdropped the book template to each student iPad. When finished with their creations, the children airdropped their books back to me so that I could combine them into class books.
The directions were simple: Look at your squiggle. What could it become? You can rotate it and copy it if you want. Make something recognizable from your squiggle.
The students provided so many interesting and creative interpretations of their squiggle! I love this one from Jack, a 4th grader, who used what he had learned in art to create an illustration based on an artist named Mary Casssett from the 1800s who painted mothers and children. (To hear his narration, listen to Mrs. Wright’s class book.)
Click on the links to view the class books.
- For the 4th graders, I told them they could resize and rotate their squiggle. A few children made the squiggle so tiny that it is barely recognizable! I made the mistake of not telling students to make sure the original squiggle could be seen. In several of the 4th grade illustrations, it’s very hard to tell what and/or where the squiggle was.
- As a result, I changed the directions for the 3rd graders. They could rotate the design but they couldn’t resize. I also told students to make sure the squiggle could be identified.
- Some of the designs were created from making copies of the squiggle. Those turned out really well!
- I asked that the squiggle be seen in the picture. Some did that but others covered it up with another color.
- It’s helpful to lock the squiggle once it’s decided where it will be on the page.
I used to do this all the time when I was little (on paper, of course!). It’s fun to watch the students create digitally!
To go along with the second grader’s Fairy Tale unit, Mrs. Garcia’s class came to the iLab to design a latch for the three bears. The idea came from a STEM Fairy Tale Unit called, A Latch for the Three Bears, by Sarah Wiggins. Click here to find it on the TeachersPayTeachers site.
Of course, Goldilocks should NEVER have gone into the Bears’ house without asking. However, shouldn’t the Bears have locked their door?
A latch had to be attached to the cardstock door so that students could demonstrate how it worked.
Cardstock paper folded into 3 sections to create the “door” to the cottage, Bobby pins, straws, q-tips, bottle caps, masking tape, craft sticks, glue
The students were introduced to the task as well as the materials available to them.We did have to explain what a latch was – that’s not exactly a common word anymore! Before sending them to their tables, I asked the children to individually think how they might combine the materials to create a latch. The next step was to brainstorm with their partner and start sketching ideas. The students then drew designs on the tables and discussed with their partners which to try.
As the students built, they often revised their plans. A couple groups had enough time to test both designs they had drawn. We did have a few students who focused more on drawing the inside of the bears’ house rather than designing the latch first. Another group felt like the house needed a fence first so they built that which meant that they ran out of time to make the latch.
After completing the task, the students were asked to upload their design to Seesaw where they were to explain how their latch worked.
Here are some samples:
Here’s a look at the students hard at work!
Mrs. Garcia’s Class
Mrs. Shapard’s Class
Next time I’ll be sure to tell students the latch is the most important thing to design and build – nothing else! IF there is time, then they can go back to add additional details (drawing the bears inside the house, adding outside elements like fences).
The best part of this (or any) design challenge is listening to the students share ideas as they brainstorm, construct, and make changes to the design. You really learn a LOT! What I’ve found is that the quieter students that might not speak out in a whole-group setting, truly shine with activities like this.
Legos and Seesaw – a fun combination! Over the past few weeks, we’ve been introducing the first graders to Seesaw; getting them used to using it so that they can work independently with it. Seesaw has created an extremely easy, user-friendly digital portfolio that allows students to add images, drawings, narration, video, and more that can be shared with parents. Students can “show” their work so that teachers can check for understanding.
This activity started with a tray of Legos per table. The only guidelines were that they had to share, they could work by themselves or with those at their table, they must finish their construction by the end of our session, and a photo had to be taken. The students couldn’t WAIT to get started! What a hum of activity! Yes, sharing limited Legos was difficult at times. Overall, everything went smoothly. The children knew that when that timer went off, they had to take their photo and then, take-apart time began. No one wanted an unfinished Lego structure!
During the next session, the children added their photo to Seesaw and recorded narration about what they built.
Here’s a sample Seesaw project. The students are loving receiving feedback from parents!
Who would have guessed that Legos would be such a hit with students!?! A few weeks ago, I presented the fourth graders with a challenge – Create an ABC book made with Legos (and the fantastic Book Creator app) to share with our Kindergarten students. I was amazed at the excitement this idea generated! (Although I’m thinking the excitement was from getting to create with Legos, not from sharing the book.)
This was a joint project with all three of our fourth grade classes so we had to divide the alphabet letters between everyone. I asked the students to get into groups of two or three and write their top three letter choices.
After handing out assignments, we discussed what needed to be included on each page.
- The alphabet letter (large and obvious!)
- Picture of the Lego creation(s) that correspond to the alphabet letter
- Text that labels the Lego objects
- Recorded voice stating “(Name of letter) is for . . .”
- Optional: some type of video to show the making of the object or to highlight the letter
For the video component, I suggested the following apps:
Surprisingly, no one chose Tellagami or ChatterPix! I think most liked the idea of the stop motion animation. What excited me is that several incorporated app-smashing – on their own! They would bring their MyCreate video into iMovie for editing, to add music, etc.
Fortunately we had plenty of Legos – I raided my grown-up son’s stash, bought a few more buckets, and had some very sweet girls donate some of their collection.
Planning and building
Using the MyCreate app
I have never seen such excitement about a project! Except for a couple minor squabbles, the students worked well together. They all learned the importance of sharing ideas and compromising. The students absolutely loved having the opportunity to create in their own way. And, they did a great job pulling everything together to create their letter page.
The book isn’t perfect and sometimes it’s a stretch to figure out how the Lego structure goes with the letter. As chief editor, I did omit some videos that really had nothing to do with the letter they were trying to represent. We had a few groups who were more interested in making iMovies about themselves. However, when it was pointed out that this is a book for young children, they made some adjustments.
Here is the link to the ebook: Lego ABC Book
Tips for downloading the ABC Lego Book:
- Click on the above link while on an iOS device with the iBooks app installed.
- Download then choose open in iBooks. The file is very large so please be patient!
If you are unable to download the ebook, click here to view the video (same content as the book).
Here’s a look at the process of making the book.
The project took longer than anticipated. What I learned is that a week of 40 minute sessions with each 4th grade class wasn’t long enough! Most groups built and rebuilt till they had the “perfect” structure. They HAD to finish the building part in a week’s time so that the next group could start. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have had enough Legos! Putting the book together didn’t take more than a couple of days.