Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Silk Route Children's Books

     This week 8th Graders in Ms. Davis’s Social Studies class have created digital books on the Silk Route using their school iPads and an app called Book Creator.  Book Creator is an easy way for students to combine text, pictures, and graphics to tell a story and create a final product that has the look and feel of a professionally published book. 

     Students have been studying the Silk Route in Social Studies for the past month or so and this assignment gives students a chance to demonstrate their understanding of the Silk Route and its role in the history of the world.  The books pull together students knowledge about the governments, economies, arts and literature, science and technology, education, religion and geography of the Silk Route. 

     Ms. Davis chose Book Creator as an app for this project because it’s fairly easy to use and can accommodate students of varying abilities and interests.  Students challenged with poor spelling, drawing or penmanship enjoy Book Creator’s layout and drawing tools to overcome some of these limitations.  Students who prefer to draw pictures to tell their story can make their drawings and take still shots with the camera on the iPad and insert them into their digital books

     All books will be made available for other students to view in the RMS Library and a few samples are included below.

Silk Route Sample #1 

Silk Route Sample #2

Silk Route Sample #3

Friday, January 9, 2015

Shakespeare Translator!

8th graders in the Ivanoski/Dodds sections of English classes have begun studying Romeo and Juliet this week.  For some students, the biggest barrier to reading and ultimately enjoying classics is understanding the words written in Old English which are sometimes hard to comprehend.

To help, students are using an app called “SwipeSpeare” to bridge the gap between Old English and Modern English as they read Romeo and Juliet.  In order to provide scaffolding for understanding the rich language of Shakespeare, students pre-read assigned scenes in “modern” English as homework. The pre-reading gives student a better understanding of the plot and meaning of the passage before they read it in its original form.  In class, they read the original text (in textbooks) while listening to the dramatic reading. This is all followed by much discussion. 

The “Swipespeare" app is an effective tool for differentiation in the classroom.  Using this app is particularly helpful for students with limited language and decoding skills and gives them more of a chance to enjoy the literature.  Students who are ready for the challenge of reading Shakespeare in its original form can use the app to “check” their understanding of the language by “swiping” to the modern language.

An example from Act IV Scene II

Original: “See where she comes from shirft with merry look.”
Modern: “Here she comes with a smile on her face.”