Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Technology Tuesday: Graphic Novels (Finally!)

My third graders do a big research unit on forces of nature right when we come back from winter break. In the past, each class has researched a different force of nature ie hurricane, tsunami, tornado, etc and then each group within the class writes an article for the class newspaper devoted to that force of nature. Well, this year, since I now have iPads in the library, I was talking with a colleague on day and we came up with he idea of having the kids do a whole lot of app smashing and make a graphic novel! It was a really cool idea and we played and played with it, wrote out directions, and tested the directions and tested it some more and played some until we were sure it was fool proof. Ha - that is until one of the apps apparently updated and part of the directions didn't work and then scribble press wouldn't upload the finished books and we had a fire drill and 2 unplanned assemblies and I had to make a plan B and a plan C.  Lucky for me I have awesome 3rd grade teachers who just go with it!

So this is what we did.  The kids researched their force of nature and their specific question in order to make their page of the class graphic novel.  Then they used a story board to plan out the pages/s to give information about their group's specific question.  They then took one or two pictures of each person in the their group and found some backgrounds of their topic in SIRS Discoverer. Then in Puppet Pals they made characters out of themselves and put themselves in a scene using the various backgrounds they chose and took screen shots. Then here's where it gets interesting... In all of our testing the screen shots from puppet pals we put into the StoryMe app and they speech bubbles we added.  In real life, with 21 kids, the StoryMe app would not find the pictures of the kids on top of the background in the camera roll. It would see the individual pics of the kids and the pics of the background but not he screen shot of the kids ON the back ground.  Insert Plan B... 

The kids make the frame of their pages in Strip Design and save those to the camera roll and then insert that page into Story Me to add the speech bubbles. Story Me is a really cool app that cartoonizes pictures. Then they email it to me and I put the whole book together using the PAID app Scribble Press and then we share 7books on the iPads in the 7 classrooms so the kids can read the other classes books and answer questions during their station work. Insert Plan C...

The PAID Scribble Press app would not upload the book all the way for some reason. So after several failed attempts I tried using the FREe app Book Press and voila it worked beautifully.

Here are a few pages from our tornado book

I might be a little biased, but I think they turned out great and will definitely be doing it again.  What kind of products do your students create for research?

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