My third grade students have spent the last month on an animal research project. In addition to learning about their selected animal and the research process, it was important to me this year to teach students about documenting their sources and giving appropriate attribution to the information they use. Even at a young age, students need to learn that when we use someone else’s ideas or materials, we need to give them appropriate credit. This is important for digital citizenship as well as digital literacy.
This year thanks to my Twitter PLN, I learned about the amazing (and free) website Arkive.org. This website:
- Has great information about a wide variety of animals
- Includes images and videos about animals which are free to re-use, and also include attribution right on the photos and videos!
In the past, my students have used the Book Creator app on iPads to create books about their research. We published these eBooks by exporting them as videos, and posting them to our classroom YouTube channel.
This year for the first time, we used Book Creator’s online version (app.bookcreator.com) so students could create their eBooks using our shared cart of Chromebooks. This worked so well! Students were able to login using their school Google accounts, and could work on their books from home or anywhere at school.
Our workflow for this project was:
- Students selected their animal and begin to collect research from library books, magazines, and online sources which I pre-selected for them and shared on my classroom website. These are all kid-friendly websites or search engines. (It’s important at this age to NOT just “turn students loose to Google without guidance.” Arkive.org was one of the primary and favorite web resources my students used in this project.
- Students hand wrote (on paper) their rough draft / sloppy copy, and helped them with some preliminary editing.
- Students then typed their next revision into Google Docs, and we used Google Classroom (for the first time, for me and for them) to streamline this process. I loved this workflow, it made it so much easier for me to make comments and notes on student papers in Google Docs, and also keep track of where students were in the writing process.
- After students were finished typing their final version and completed editing in Google Docs, they copied and pasted their paragraphs into a book in my shared teacher library using Book Creator Online.
Check out all our finished eBooks by clicking on different book covers in this Google Doc. This is the document I’m sharing with parents so they can view their child’s completed book and other student books, using the shortened web link bit.ly/fryerbooks.