Budding authors show their worth

By Karen Stadler

Our grade 6 students recently completed a wonderful story-writing project.

To foster good relationships between the different age groups at our school and to encourage and promote literacy, each year the Grade 6 pupils write a story book for the Grade 2 or 3 pupils. On completion, the young authors go over to the Preparatory campus and sit with the little ones and read their stories to them. In previous years, the books were handwritten and illustrated. This year, we decided to change the format and have them create e-books and publish them online.

Web tools an exciting alternative

Working mostly in pairs, the children wrote a short story aimed at a Grade 2 or 3 child. This story was then typed up in PowerPoint on a maximum of 14 slides, with illustrations. Some groups sourced their pictures from the internet (website sources cited!), some drew their own pictures using shapes – and one group created scenes with Lego, photographed each scene, and inserted them into the presentations. These presentations were then saved in PDF format and uploaded, by the children, onto www.youblisher.com, a website that creates online books. The children were very excited about the final product, because the e-books have ‘flippable’ pages – they’re almost like touching a real book!

Capturing an audience

A wiki with a page for each class was then created, into which I uploaded all the stories. Once this was done, we sent the link home for the parents to look at and I ‘advertised’ our stories to my Twitter PLN, to garner an audience. The last step in the project was to invite the Grade 3s over to the Senior Primary Information Technology Centre, where the Grade 6s read their stories aloud to their little guests.

They were enthralled by the ‘moving’ pages on the screen, and really enjoyed the stories. Our Grade 6s were proud presenters, and the interaction between the older and younger children was wonderful to witness. I focus on instilling sound Information Communication Technology practices and skills in our students. This year, I intended to try to connect with classes in other regions of the world. This project has done just that! The wiki has had a number of visits from people all over the world, thanks to the Twitter connections.

Some people have left comments on the wiki or on our Wallwisher page, and some have sent us e-mails. One sixth grade teacher from a school in Michigan, USA, indicated that she wants to connect her class with our Grade 6s, and we are now in discussion around the finer details of our collaboration, with a Skype session on the cards. This is true 21st century learning!

To read our stories, please visit our wiki: http://elk-grade6-stories.wikispaces.com/. Don’t forget to leave a comment!

Karen Stadler is the IT Integration Coordinator at Elkanah House Senior Primary School.

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Category: e-Education, Winter 2011

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