Mr. Kamrowski

"Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children." –Sitting Bull

App Tested: Book Creator

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Description

Book Creator is a simple app that allows you to make ebooks on the iPad.  It has been voted as the number one book creating app for the iPad and the best educational app in the 2015 BETT awards.  It also has a stellar blog with tons of amazing ideas.

Price

It comes in two versions, free and regular.  The free version limits you to one book creation.  However, with the use of cloud storage (google drive, dropbox, box, etc.) there is no reason this wouldn’t work in most situations for students.  Students could simply upload their project or completed book to cloud storage, delete the one on their device, and create a new one on their device.  I would recommend that teachers pony up the $4.99 for the regular version to allow for book management of classroom collaboration projects as I describe below.

Lesson Objective

Students will select, research, analyze, and write about a popular culture item of the 1930s that will be used in a compilation of topics to be included in an ebook that will be offered on Apple’s iBook Store.  This activity will cover the skill sets outlined in the common core standard identified as CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2 (Great name!)

Procedures

Day 1

  1. Hook: Writing Prompt–If you had to select one item to be put in a time capsule that represents the culture of your generation, what would it be and why?
  2. Debrief:  Discuss student’s writing.  Identify characteristics of culture and create a class definition.
  3. Direct Instruction:  Explain the E-Book project
  4. Individual Work:  Allow students time to complete initial research, submit a topic idea for approval and add selected topics to google sheets so topics do not overlap (I did allow some overlap).  When approved, students should complete thorough research and submit for approval (Research & Resource Sheet).  I set up Schoology’s completion rules (See the video on how to do this in the resource section of this post) to make this process efficient on my end.

Day 2+

  1. Direct Instruction:  How to download the template (See the video on how to make a template page in Book Creator in the resource section of this post) and use Book Creator
  2. Individual Work time:  Thorough research is to completed and submit for approval (Research & Resource Sheet).  Begin working on E-Book page when research is approved.
  3. Upload completed E-Book page to Schoology.  From here, I provide feedback until student is satisfied with their work.  I then compiled the books in Book Creator (Using the combine books feature) and uploaded the file to iCloud.  From my Mac I opened the file in iBooks Author and published it to the iBooks store (Here is a great tutorial by the people at Book Creator about how to publish to the iBooks store).

Reflections

This was certainly a beta test of the concept.  The idea was to present an authentic audience for my students along with choice of topics for them to research and write about that were within my theme.  Certainly, the students were excited about their topics and the choice proved to be an engaging method.  Their research skills were subpar and next time I clearly need to spend time on instructing them how to research and tweaking the research and resource sheet.

I feel I had my blinders on with this activity by only focusing on using the Book Creator app.  In the future, I would like to have students do more collaboration.  Perhaps have partners select a topic and work so the research and writing process could filter through more people.  Rough drafts of the writings should be viewed by several class members, using the rubric as a tool for guidance, before it is sent to me for feedback.  Then, students would only need to copy and past the text into the proper space within Book Creator.

Once I improve the core steps of the process, research and writing, I could introduce  other elements offered in Book Creator such as videos, more visuals, and even audio.

Resources

Question:  How would or do you use Book Creator in your classroom?  What suggestions do you have to help me improve this activity?  As always, thanks for your leaving your ideas and questions in the comment section.

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Author: Rob Kamrowski

My name is Rob Kamrowski and I have been a high school social study teacher of some years. Recently, I have accepted a position as an 8th grade American History teacher. I have taught a range of subjects from American History to Personal Finance to AP European History. I earned my Bachelor Degree in 2003, my Masters Degree in 2008, and strive to earn the respect of my students, colleagues and family every day of every year

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