The Class E-Book Conundrum

One of the first posts on my blog is about options for digital writing anthologies for my students. I researched and thought about this topic a lot all year.

Unfortunately, there have been a couple of blips in our progress:

  1. The computer lab is barely functioning. For my own sanity, I had to stop attempting to use those ill-cared-for computers. Just walking into that lab was beginning to give me instant migraine headaches. Luckily, we have two brand-new iPad carts, but those only help for some activities. Sometimes, we just need regular computers. iPads do not work for everything, at least not yet.
  2. The Smarter Balanced pilot tests for the Common Core State Standards have taken over all tech use at my schools for the last month or so. (Click this link for the Smarter Balanced Practice and Training Tests). Since we have 900 students and a limited amount of iPads and computers, it is taking a very long time to get everyone through the process. Another unintended consequence of our testing mania in schools.

The bottom line is that I find myself in May—mid-May, argh!—without a solid plan. I may have to modify my expectations.

My final unit of study for English 7 will be narrative writing. Our district team decided to have students use a short story from River Teeth by David James as inspiration for students  to write several mini-memoirs about their own “river teeth.” This is a new concept for me, but I’m happy to try it. And, like a good Writing Project teacher, I’ll have to write about my own river teeth as well. That may be an upcoming blog topic.

Anyway, at the California Association of Teachers of English Conference (CATE) this year, I saw two elementary teachers talk about how they created e-books with their students using simple Power Point slides. My note-taking skills apparently leave more to be desired because I can’t remember their names. However, I think I can take their idea and make an e-book using Google Slides. Students can grab the template from my website, type their narratives, and share with me. Then I can compile a class book.

Here’s a practice template of what I’m thinking:

Even with this simple template, time is an issue. There is never enough time for all the teaching and writing and learning. I’ll just keep kicking this idea around (and I’ll book the last week of the computer lab, just in case).

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