Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Watsons Go to Birmingham, Stacie Bell, Librarian, Pirie Elementary School

One of the great parts about working in the Library is being able to collaborate with classroom teachers. My fifth graders recently read The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 with their homeroom teacher. After doing a character study with the their teacher, we brought that experience a step further in the Library. (See student work)

In the Library, we used a paid app called Faces iMake to create a representation of the characters from the book. Before the students began working with the iPads, we made a list of the characters and the students were assigned to pairs and a character. Students were then asked to write a list a adjectives and verbs to describe their character. This activity got student’s thinking about the things their character does and how they act, rather than just how they look.

Then, we were ready to work with the app. Faces iMake has several tutorial videos so we watched the first one as a class, which gave a much more concise introduction than I could and it also showed students where they could go if they forgot how to work a feature of the app.

Students were required to create the face of their character with the objects provided in the app. At least three of the objects had to represent a character trait or an important scene for the character. For example, a character who is smart might have a calculator for eyes.

After creating their faces, students exported the picture to the camera roll and then opened Pages. In Pages, students imported the picture and wrote about what they did. Students had to introduce the character and describe his or her role in the story. Students then wrote about why they chose their particular objects and how they represented their character. Students then converted their document to a PDF so it could be emailed and printed, and presented their Faces and explanations to the class.

The students really enjoyed this lesson because it gave them the opportunity to be creative (and a little silly). This lesson also allowed for a deep level of thinking because students must really dissect their character and make connections to physical objects and then back up these connections through their writing.

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