We’re Writing a Book! (pt. 1)

This post isn’t so much an “Evernote” post, but a “teaching” post. I’ll soon be starting a personal blog for posts like this and other educational happenings. Sorry if you’re looking for a cool Evernote tip. I’m not trying to mislead you– I’m just a beginning blogger looking for my voice and the right platform.

A few days ago I downloaded May We Suggest?— a free iBook written by a 9th grade English class– and I was blown away and truly inspired. My students were inspired as well. Jon Smith (@theipodteacher) has been helping students create and publish books and you can see all of the available books on his blog.

A few days after downloading the book, I Facetimed (that’s a verb now, right?) with Mr. Smith and asked a million questions because I want to challenge my 8th graders to create and publish a book. Jon was very helpful and really passed his enthusiasm on to me. He helped explain the whole process and recommended we use Book Creator to create our multimedia presentations (video, audio, text, images, etc.) with the intent of making our books available through iBooks.

I introduced the idea to my students and listed all of the steps needed in order to make this book happen. It’s a daunting task, but it’s doable.

I then listed the six teams we’ll need to have working simultaneously  and collaboratively in order to create our final product:

  1. Writing
  2. Editing
  3. Video
  4. Illustrations and Graphics
  5. Promotion
  6. Publishing

The students picked the two teams they really wanted to work with, and based on the numbers and class breakdown, I went through and assigned each student a team based on preference. Rather than simply assigning students all the roles or even one specific role, it was fun giving them the freedom to choose an area where they felt gifted and interested. Don’t we all want to work in our strengths?

Today my classes spent the period creating an audience-profile based on the example from Slide:ology (a book I highly recommend for anyone interested in public speaking). As the book states,

“Those with the most to lose– and the most to gain– are the listeners. Define their needs, and turn them into agents of your cause. Without your audience, you are nothing.”

For several of my students, this will be the first writing assignment/project they’ve ever created that focused on creating value for the reader instead of focusing on the expectations of the rubric and writing something to please me, the teacher.

I’ll be updating our progress along with pictures, promotional links, and new ideas/challenges we encounter. I’m really excited about this project and I can’t wait to see the effort my students put into it.

Let me encourage you to check out Mr. Smith’s blog, download some of his books, and maybe you’ll be inspired as well. Check back in the next couple of days to see our progress.