A New Twist on Book Reviews

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What We’re Doing in 3rd Grade Technology

I’ve been taking on a lot of larger projects this year with the different grades.  For 3rd grade I decided to do book reviews as a major production.  Well…we’re coming up to the “put it all together” stage.  Again I started with the program Comic Life.  If you want one program that can be use multi grades and is great for creating an eye popping page of work this is the program you need. The kids have created 4 pages in Comic Life about a book of their choice.  They used the built in camera on the computer and the capture function in Comic Life to take a picture of the book.  Then they set to work creating their pages.  They had to have a consistent front page and had to have a short summary on one page but after that it was their choice.  Some are talking about characters, favorite parts, who they would recommend the book to, funny parts, etc.  They’ve drawn pictures in Tux Paint and brought them in as well.  We’ve done a mini lesson on creating an interesting eye catching but clean layout for their pages as they tend to go overboard with all the bells and whistles in Comic Life.

This first part is now finished.  We are exporting the pages into iPhoto.  Then comes iMovie.  They brought their pages in and were thrilled to see the beginning of the final result.  They’ll be adding their voice to each page so have also had to write a script that has their plan for each page.  I couldn’t believe that I didn’t have a single complaint about creating those in Word, though they could just copy and paste any text from Comic Life.

The final steps are recording voice and importing to iTunes.  Then bringing it all together in iMovie with transitions, pictures and voice clips matching, beginning and ending screens, and background music track.  And these are 3rd graders!  It never really dawned on me how big this would be and how much they would have to do but they’re proving themselves capable of the task.  When I realize how much they’re learning, how much they’re doing, and how young they are, I’m in awe! I really love my job!

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7 responses »

    • I can’t wait to see the final product either! I’ll be uploading them to our district podcast server when all is done so anyone has access to that. We get permission at the beginning of the year to display work on the web on our district servers and most parents agree to allow it.

  1. What a great project! I can’t wait to see the final product!

    I’m curious about the time involved. How long do you think it will have taken, from start to finish? Is technology part of a Specials rotation in your building? If so, do they also do other integration activities with the classroom teacher?

    • I’m the tech specialist in my building after more years than I can count teaching in the regular classroom. My time is part of the specials rotation and I see kids once every eight school days so it takes a while to finish a bigger project. These book review projects will end up taking about 5 fifty minute class sessions. Every other day I have about 4 hours of non student contact time which I use to help teachers integrate more technology in any way I can as well as managing all other tech things for the building like our web site. Due to a federal magnet school grant we are fortunate to have Smartboards, document cameras and mounted projectors in every classroom as well as 2 mobile laptop labs so a good portion of the staff has become very adept at tech use and integration.

  2. Wow! What a great project to get students involved with not only technology but reading as well. I like how they have to have a consistent front page but then have choice as to how they want to represent various parts of the book. As a teacher, I would be able to get a much better assessment of a student’s understanding and learning from this project as opposed to a regular book report. These students are learning skills that will transfer over to other projects throughout the year. Again, great job!!

  3. Be sure to post the final project for us! I did a similar project with 5th graders studying the US presidents. Each student was assigned to a president. They created comics about them in comic life, exported to iPhoto, and then to iMovie where they added music they made in Garageband and narration. Don’t you just love iLife??

  4. Pingback: Big projects coming to a close! « The Techie Classroom

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