How to use BookCreator in Writer’s Workshop

Molly and I are Writer’s Workshop teachers. We have both taken the Writer’s Workshop training at Teacher’s College (TC) and both of us feel passionately about our students seeing themselves as writers. When we began our 1:1 journey, the possibilities did and still do feel endless with our devices, however, sometimes this endlessness can be daunting. I’ve written about how we use both Educreations and Book Creator in our classrooms (Book Creator and Educreations in the classroom), in this post I want to focus specifically how we use Book Creator in conjunction with our Writer’s Workshop.

We do three-four writing units a year based on the TC first grade Writer’s Workshop curriculum. During our daily Writer’s Workshop, students spend around 30-40 minutes writing and editing. This past year I focused on using BookCreator during the informational writing unit and realistic fiction(2nd and 3rd units). I plan to integrate Book Creator into the small moments (1st unit) curriculum this coming year because it was incredibly engaging to students and allowed them to easily publish their work digitally.

There are a many ways to use Book Creator during the workshop. Sometimes students would publish books they had already written using Book Creator. This was exciting to them because not only did they have a paper copy but they also had a copy they could read and access through iBooks on their iPad. This also made it easy to share their writing through their kidblog as you can save books on Book Creator as a video on the camera roll and upload to a variety of platforms. They also were able to Airdrop their stories to each other’s iPads and create a class library filled with their peers stories.  

What struck me about using Book Creator as a writing tool was how engaged and excited students were to use it even during free choice time. In this first sample, the student wrote about how to care for the classroom fish using skills the student learned during the workshop however, the student wrote the story during free choice. The skills the student was learning in writing naturally transfer to using the Book Creator app.

In this second example, we had been writing realistic fiction series for several weeks when we decided to use Book Creator to write and publish one of the stories in the series. I created a anchor chart to guide students through the process.  

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Using Book Creator in our Writer’s Workshop allowed our students to create and publish their stories digitally, share their work easily on their blog and apply writing skills they had learned in the workshop to a digital medium. I cannot recommend using Book Creator in conjunction with your Writer’s Workshop enough!

-Alicia

How We Use BookCreator and Educreations In Our Classrooms

Our first graders love reading and writing. We spend a large part of time reading and writing everyday. Our classroom culture is based on the belief of student centric and student created content. As a class, we write and publish frequently. We write for a variety of purposes: personal stories, informational text, realistic fiction, reviews, the list goes on and on.   As a first grade team, when we were looking at app to add to our 1:1 program, we wanted to ensure our apps aligned not only to Common Core State Standards but that they also aligned with our classroom culture of writing and reading for a variety of purposes. We wanted an app that was easy to use and was easily adapted across content areas. Most importantly, we wanted apps that are creation based and allow students to share their learning in an unique manner.   Our search led us to two apps we decided to adopt: BookCreator and Educreations. Both apps offer slightly different benefits and we felt that both would be well utilized in our 1:1 program.

Educreations was the first app we adopted and worked heavily with. We selected this app for a few reasons. Educreations is a free or very low cost app, if you choose to upgrade to the pro account. It is very easy for students to write, draw, upload pictures into and narrate over. In this video, the student was working on learning the names of 2-D geometric shapes and using the shapes to create new shapes from the composite shapes (CCSS Math 1.G.A.2).  There are some drawbacks to Educreations, students cannot go back and re record if they make a mistake. Additionally, without the pro account, students can only save one draft at a time, which can be problematic if you have students working on multiple projects at once.

BookCreator is an vast app in which students can write, add text, draw, add photos and narrate over books they create. These books are shareable to iBooks or can be shared easily by converting the book to a video that is easily uploaded to a variety of platforms such as youtube or blogs. Bookcreator allows students to share their learning in a variety of different ways. It provides student who may be impacted by the amount they can write a method of sharing their learning through voice over. A student may only be able to write a sentence but can speak a great deal about a topic. Bookcreator provides this outlet for students. Bookcreator has many features that my students were still discovering on the last week of school. In this example, the  student used many features of Bookcreator to create a vibrant, full book.

Whatever app you decide to adopt in your own program, make sure that it has multiple input points for students to access and ensure it is easily sharable in some manner. High quality student work should be shared and celebrated!