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28 May 2014
Comments: 7

Winsome Wednesday: Delightful Student-Publishing!

If customization and edupreneuralism is the not-so-distant future for districts, than authentic opportunities for students to publish their own work is the equivalent trend for the classroom.

The Big Adventure of Berry by Daeun Jung

The Big Adventure of Berry by Daeun Jung

I have to say I quite accidentally happed upon these winsome student-created iBooks in a twitter feed. Truly, I do not use the word “winsome” lightly… these exceptionally creative  inquiry books are charming and delightfully designed.

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 8.38.15 PM

Scientific Narrative Story: Each book is a narrative story that blends scientific fact and fantasy with a dash of personification. While the books encompass multiple technologies from hand drawn images to text written in Pages, the final product was assembled in Book Creator.

The Adventure of Tom Triceps and Brittany Biceps

“The Adventure of Tom Triceps and Brittany Biceps” by Elaine Zhu

Behind the Story: A “Behind the Story” section reveals the thorough process from inquiry to publication.

Oxy's Adventure by Luna, Ojanperä

“Oxy’s Adventure” by Luna Ojanperä

Research and Resources: Clearly research and inquiry were main dishes for this project and were even included in the reference section at the end of each book.

The Adventures of Oxylia the Oxygen Bubble by Adinda Aaisyah

The Adventure of Oxylia the Oxygen Bubble by Adinda Aaisyah

About the Author: And of course no book would be complete without an Author Page.

"Ardelia Does a Cartwheel" by Ardelia Tjandra

“Ardelia Does a Cartwheel” by Ardelia Tjandra

Beyond the Book: So impressed with the transformative work that these five fourth graders recently published, I decided to dive a little deeper and get an exclusive interview…via a Google Form.

How Did You Organize Your Research?

  • “I had to make a resources list. I had to go to the book from the school library and look on the front page to find the author and then I added the title and the book page. I also did this for information found on the Internet.” – Luna Ojanpera

Can You Tell Me More About Your Inquiry Book?

  • “The unit of inquiry was about different body systems, my system was about the muscular system. We learned about the unit in different ways. We worked with the grade 12 students, we made experiments, we watched films and we read books. We had to find many questions for ourselves to learn about body systems. The inquiry book is where we keep all our notes.” – Ardelia Tjandra

What Was the Most Challenging Part of the Project?

  • “Learning to say all of the difficult science words correctly for my eBook recording words like duodenum. Writing the story was also really hard.” – Daeun Jung
  • “Drawing the pictures for the book. I found it hard to draw the neurons because I had to Google first to see what they looked like.” – Elaine Zhu

What Was your Favorite Part of Creating this Real Information Book?

  • “I really liked finding all the facts. I watched videos from the Brain Pop website to find a lot of my information. I also read books.” –  Elaine Zhu

What Advice Would You Give Other Children and Students Looking to Publish Their Own Book in iBooks?

  • “My advice that is you must have access to good resources and helpful teachers to guide you.” – Ardelia Tjandra
  • “You need to make sure that you know the facts properly. You have to be ready to make lots of drafts.” – Elaine Zhu

How/Why is this Different From an In-Class Project That is Not Published to a Worldwide Audience?

  • “It’s different because it took a long time and we needed to find out a lot of new information. I wanted to make sure that the people who would read my book could understand it. I tried to use easy language to make it better for others to read.” – Luna Ojanpera
  • “When you publish a book, everyone in the world can download and read your book. It made me want to work harder.” – Adinda Aaisyah

What is One Thing that Surprised You During this Inquiry and Publishing Process?

  • The thing that surprised me was that I never thought that I could publish a book in English that is about a body system. My first language is Chinese. I also never imagined that students in America could download and read my book.” – Ardelia Tjandra

What Would You Like Other Students To Know About Your Books?

  • I want people to know that I actually come from Finland and English is not my first language. This was hard for me to make this book but I succeeded and my book was published by Apple.” – Luna Ojanpera
  • “My book really explains in detail about how neurons work to send messages. This was hard for me to learn about but I think that I have explained it really well.” – Elaine Zhu


Jane Ross (@JaneinJava), their teacher, mentor, and fellow Apple Distinguished Educator has curated a few additional resources to shed some light from the instructional point of view:

She also has a comprehensive FREE iBook on the topic available entitled “Creating Authentic Stories for the iPad: Publishing Student Authors on the iBooks Store”.

"Creating Authentic Stories for the iPad" by Jane Ross

“Creating Authentic Stories for the iPad” by Jane Ross

While these books definitely reflect robust inquiry and research as well as clear understanding of their topics… we cannot dismiss the vital role and impact that publishing to a global audience has on our students.

“We publish not just to complete our books but to share them beyond our community and place our stories into the hands of people across the world.” – Jane Ross


Additional Content-Focused Book Samples:

TechChef4u Alliteration Alliance!

Check out the other topics in the Ed Tech alliteration portfolio:


TechChef Presents!

TechChef PresentsWhere will Lisa Johnson be sharing her app-thusiasm next?


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06 Nov 2013
Comments: 9

Primary Digital Book Reports

In preparation for this week’s Tech Forum Austin presentation entitled, “Technology in the Early Grades”, I have been gathering some resources and examples to share that exhibit evidence of learning.

App-Smashed Book Reports: This one in particular was a book report project for my primary-age son. He was given the task to illustrate and briefly describe each part of the story from his Amelia Bedelia book. While his illustrations and text were fairly clear, I felt he had more to say beyond the paper. Thus, I opted to app-smash his book report using the following tools:

  1. Camera: Take a picture of each hand drawn illustration.
  2. Tellagami (app): Create a Tellagami for each section using the matching hand-drawn background saved to the camera roll. Email Tellagami published link after each section.
  3. (app): Record audio in Email the published link after each section.
  4. Canva (web app): Create a Canva to house all of the illustrations. Download final Canva image.
  5. Thinglink (web app): Upload Canva image and Thinglink it with Tellagami’s and’s.

Truly, it sounds more laborious than it actually was. As this was a primary student project, all of the drawings and audio (the meat of the content) were created by the student, and the teacher (myself in this scenario) simply offered some assembly assistance with the resource.

Tools with Audio and Drawing Capability: While there are multiple ways to achieve a book report on an iPad with a primary-aged student, it is important to look for apps and tools that allow students the ability to incorporate audio and their own drawings.

Fortunately, one of my favorite book creation apps, Book Creator, just released an update to now include a drawing feature (which nicely finishes out the tool that already encapsulated text, audio, photo, and video import capability)!!!

Scribble Press also offers the ability to draw and it just so happens that my fellow iVenger Ed Tech, Marianna Husain posted a fantastic blog post with multiple examples on the Bobcat blog. The examples are not a book report but do incorporate storytelling, illustrations, and publishing.

Kinder Students use Scribble Press app to Showcase their Understanding of the 5 Senses.

Kinder Students use Scribble Press app to Showcase their Understanding of the 5 Senses.

Creative Book Reports on the iPad: With a device in hand, the sky is the limit for innovative book reports. The iPadders site offers 23 iPad Alternatives to the Book Report. ICT with Miss C shares an intermediate iLesson on fractured fairy tales using Scribble Press and iMovie trailers that is simply enchanting. Brianna Hodges shares some fantastic resources for differentiated book reports using a select handful of tools.

Whatever the tool, providing support and opportunities for young learners to “begin to define themselves as writers” and a venue for them to express their thoughts and ideas within the classroom and beyond is a critical and essential objective.

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10 May 2013
Comments: 1

Sharing Student App-thusiasm

I think I am going to devote an entire blog series to the topic of “ideas I had from a pin”. Many times I find a pin that sparks an idea. The pin itself may not have been exactly what I would replicate… but the idea takes on a path and journey of its own.

So, in honor of all of the teachers and educators who follow this blog, I thought I would share and adapt a pin that I found two days ago. A truly sentimental and adorable idea a photographer mother shared. Her daughter was turning 8 and the class used the SMART board to list one adjective that described the birthday girl. I can only imagine how special and uplifting this was for the child as well as touching for the mother. The final product was the picture of the child with all of the adjectives floating around her. Truly, what an amazing keepsake!

App-tastic idea shared from TSJ Photography blog

Of course, this naturally got me thinking about how this sentiment could be achieved on the iPad…

  • Skitch or Popplet: Students could take a photo of themselves on their iPad and use the Skitch or Popplet app to have each child add an adjective about them.
  • Croak it: Students can then use the app to briefly explain why they used that adjective (perfect for an anecdotal story)
  • Thinglink: The Skitch photo could be uploaded to Thinglink and then each audio file could be linked to the adjective it details. OR, students could just upload the Skitch or Popplet photo and use it as an ePortfolio and link some of their best work to the photo (e.g. podcasts, documents, videos, etc…)
  • Book Creator or Strip Designer: Students could also take each Skitch or Popplet photo and create a page for each student as a final class book.


This idea could also be adapted for a teacher or co-worker. Each teacher could contribute adjectives for the student or all of the students could contribute adjectives for a teacher. Or teachers could take a picture of the classroom and have each student use the app to detail their favorite memory and then Thinkglink all of the audio files to the class image.

Dads, if you are reading this, what an adorable idea for your kids to create for their mom 😉

Clearly, there are also curricular connections to this idea  (e.g. dynamic and static character traits for fictional or historical characters).


And one more… I know this is created on a whiteboard, but this could very well be achieved with Padlet or a pass around Popplet app-tivity. What a most excellent end-of-year app-tivity!


As I hadn’t time to actually produce an example of this, I would love to see your adaptations of these ideas. If you decide to take on this challenge, email me at with a brief description of what you did and the final example and I will feature it on next week’s blog! Note, make sure you have full rights to publish the product you send.


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23 Apr 2013
Comments: 3

History by the E-book

I am pleased to share another amazingly creative student-led project from Tanna Fiske’s class at Hill Country Middle School in collaboration with Ms. Crowley’s and Ms. Root’s Bridge Point third grade classes.

8th grade students composed books using the Book Creator and Scrap Pad apps based on historical topics covered this year. The books took on a familiar repetitive children’s storybook theme to make the concepts easier to digest and comprehend for their 3rd grade audience.

Once the framework of the book was set, 8th grade students used a Google Doc to provide Bridge Point 3rd grade students with a list of images they would need to complete the book. On the day of the field trip, the whole project really came together.

The two videos below will give you a better idea of how the project was achieved and what the final ePub looked like.

If you are interested in what other digital delights are being cooked up by Fiske’s class iClassroom, visit their blog. Additionally, the Bridge Point iVenger, Marianna Husain, has been dishing out campus iLearning successes on the Bridge Point blog. It is a delightful read and will surely present you with some iRecipes to use in your own iClassroom.

And what do you know? You are in for a real treat… the ePubs are now available for you to download and thoroughly digest!

Fiske's History ePub Collaborative Project

Want more examples of student publishing in the iClassroom, download the “Student-Created Books” iTunes U course.


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