Category Archives: Book Creator

The Gingerbread Trap

So this is Christmas,

And what have you done?

These lyrics from a popular Christmas song always make me pause as a teacher and a person and think, “What have I done?”  To answer this question in December of 2019, I can say that rebranding my classroom as a STREAM Studio this year has allowed a fresh perspective to invade my teacher heart.  I have provided numerous opportunities to create, collaborate, communicate and critically think in Grades K-5 at the new whiteboard tables with flexible seating.  Using the Book Creator app on iPads to document the engineering design process is one of my most favorite times of the day with my first graders!

Here is a description of how I have framed my lessons using the STREAM acronym with pictures!

S – Self Directed Learners are planning a trap made from popsicle sticks and binder clips to catch the Gingerbread Person who has run away.

T – Technology use of Book Creator app on iPads, Thinkers who have to collaborate to build a group trap while combining ideas, Tinkering with binder clips and popsicle sticks to generate a solution is a challenge!

R- Reading versions of “The Gingerbread Man” but deciding that we should trap the Gingerbread person so it won’t get eaten by a Fox then we will take him or her back home.

E – Engineering Design Process to plan, build and test out our designs

A – Artistic representations of a Gingerbread person including decorating it with ideas from a glyph, Adaptability when needing to make adjustments to the design and incorporate ideas from collaborative teammates

M – Maker mindset is developing as students make design using simple materials

My design challenge question is “Can you create a trap that can catch and hold one Gingerbread person?”  I provide plastic Gingerbread people on sticks that I bought at Michaels and plush Gingerbread people who smell like Gingerbread that I bought at CVS.  I have each child get an iPad with Book Creator app, choose a partner, get a bag of popsicle sticks and binder clips then pick up a Gingerbread person.

They begin by drawing their trap idea in Book Creator, show it to a partner then decide how they will combine drawings to build the actual Gingerbread trap out of the materials!  Next, they test it out to see if their trap works and take a picture of it in a Book Creator.  Finally, they write about “How to Catch A Gingerbread Person” in Book Creator, change font and text size to make the sentences special!

I have asked our art teacher to have students make Gingerbread people and decorate them with a glyph.  For ex., put One stripe on the leg if you have a sister or two stripes if you have a brother.  Put various color buttons to represent the month that you were born in, etc.

Since I don’t have time to always read an entire book to the class and do the design challenge, I asked our Media Center teacher to read various versions of “The Gingerbread Man” to students.

I also think that students learn to use sequence words like first, next, then and last when typing about how to catch a Gingerbread person.  I have an example on an anchor chart to provide writing support!

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Engineering Design Process in Book Creator App

My first graders have been busy as they developed ideas in the engineering design process!

They would open Book Creator app, draw their design then build it out Jumbo K’Nex!  I captured a lot of pictures to share and am so proud of their creations along with the text that they wrote to accompany their picture.  They also changed size of text in their sentences, changed font and color of text!  Their favorite part was recording their voice reading aloud their sentence into Book Creator and sharing their recording with others.

The Book Creator app allows children to begin to fluidly create with tools at their fingertips.  For example, when you open a New Book and choose the Landscape option, then you can press the “+” symbol to see the Pen tool which allows you to draw in many colors, the Add Text tool, the Camera tool, the Photo tool and the Record Voice tool.  I love that kids can select many types of fonts, colors and sizes of text.

Today, a child was asking me how to spell “built”.  I said the letters b, u and i then the word populated above the text.  Book Creator tries to help kids to spell the words correctly by predicting the text that they are typing.  I love that kids can create then use language to describe their drawings and engineering design products!  My favorite description in one of the pictures using Jumbo K’Nex is translated as follows:  We built a tank that is undefeatable.”  The kids absolutely love recording their voice and hearing it played back.  Recording brings the process to a close as they wrap up their creation in the Engineering Design Process and are ready to share with others.

Another exciting piece of this project was in the collaboration that occurred.  Having six year olds collaborate is possible but not always easy.  They had to draw what they wanted to create then share the drawing with a partner or partners.  Then, they had to compromise and decide on the one creation that they would make using the Jumbo K’Nex blocks.

I was glad that I started using Book Creator without having them collaborate at first a few weeks ago.  Back then, I read aloud “What Do You Do With An Idea?” then they created a drawing of an object that they could create to help the world.  I have given them opportunities to also draw a tower that would hold mini apples from the craft store then create it with Unifix Cubes and mini apples, take a picture of their tower holding the apples and then type text about how many cubes they used in the building of their tower and how many apples it would hold.  They also got to use the Record Voice tool to read their sentence aloud about their apple towers.  I think it is important to facilitate proper use of the tools in Book Creator so that students can do increasingly more difficult challenges and begin to compromise as they collaborate with others to build designs.

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