Thursday, June 8, 2017

Across the Ocean - a whale's story - a beautiful interactive school created narrative

A beautiful interactive audio visual iBook has been created from the writing, artwork and music from K-6 students at St Canice’s Catholic Primary School Katoomba around the story of a whale and her calf.

Students were inspired to create the story, to connect with a sculpture they had created and installed at Scenic World Katoomba.  It follows the adventure of the baby whale, Isaac, separated from his mother in a storm at sea and his encounters with a submarine and a island of garbage.

Student's created the storyline and artwork to go with the Whale story and then with the support of Principal Mark Geerligs, Teaching Educator - Music, Phil Rooke and classroom music teacher Kristina Frazer they also created music reflective of the story which was incorporated into a communal iBook.

The purpose of the soundtracks were to provide a musical soundscape to the whale sculpture and the story. The challenge was for the whole school to contribute to and create the soundscape from available sound sources; eg instruments in the classroom, body percussion and voice.

The sound samples were recorded in class on March 2017 in groups from Kindergarten to year 6 and in the case of Kindergarten, year 1 & 2, a whole class choir was formed to record the actual ‘whale song’.

This sound track features some deep sounds and also some spatial effects. For example, the baby whales appear at the beginning and are chasing after the mother whale - the mother whale (The "Hmmm" recorded by Kindergarten) can be heard deeper down and mixed more to the centre of the track. The Baby whales (The "woo" recorded by year 1 class) is a 'call and response' which shifts around the stereo field from the left to the right in response to the much deeper "mother whale"

How schools can use this iBook
Schools can use this as a stimulus for writing narrative both in digital and print form.  Using an iPad students can create a similar ebook using Book Creator by creating the text with artwork either digitally with an App like Brushes or via including a photo of a  physically created artwork.  Then students can record relevant music or audio to accompany the Book Creator ebook.

Where you can get Across the Oceans - a whale's story iBook 
You can download the iBook for free from the iBooks store at Across the Ocean - a whale's story.  Remember that you can download iBooks to an iPad or to the latest Macbook with OSX 10.9 as long as you have the free iBooks App on the Mac.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Creating iBooks or eBook Apps

The iPad is a great tool for students to create and publish their own books. Following up from the previous post on Creating your own iBook, there are now a number of Apps that can be used on the iPad to create your own iBook or eBook App.

  • Book Creator
  • Creative Book Builder
  • Demi Book Composer (free)
  • Ebook creator
  • Ebook magic

A great summary of the above Apps can be found at Technology Bits Bytes & Nibbles.

A comparison of which one to use can be found at : The Amazing iPad.

One schools collaborative iBook using Pages App as well as Drawing Pad and Whiteboard Lite - iPads at Burley.

A useful presentation at Author Stream on How to Create an Ebook. For some detailed instructions on using Creative Book Builder start from slide 26.

For a quick ebook of any website or blog use dotEPUB. You can install a bookmarklet on your iPad which will automatically convert the webpage you are viewing to an ebook. I quickly and easily converted pages from this blog into an ebook via dotEPUB's bookmarklet (see pic above).

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Learning with the Olympics

The Olympics are always a rich opportunity for students to use the 4C's across the curriculum:
Some ideas:
  • Geography:  look local then expand global - where do our athletes come from in Australia, where do they train, what is their story?  Compare this to other athletes across the world. Where is the host Olympic country and what do you know about it.? See the Games Overview.
  • Numeracy:  How many athletes are competing from Australia and across the world, what is the percentage of Australian athletes to all athletes? How many countries are competing?
  • History:  Who has competed in more than one Olympics?  When did a particular sport start in the Olympics?
  • Literacy:  Research, read and write about the Olympics and the athletes and countries involved.
Below is a Google slide with some starting information about our female football team 'The Matilda's" that could be used for students explore a range of learning connections:
  • RESEARCH and locate more information about the team, the players and female football.  Why are they called the Matilda's? What countries are they playing? What is a midfielder?  Search for the details about an athlete by name here.
  • CREATE  a biography for themselves as if they are an Olympian like this one adjacent at Lisa De Vanna's profile or alternatively use Google forms to interview another student to gather their Olympian profile, (scroll down to Q&A)
  • CRITICALLY analyse information and create infographics using Google Slides or Canva about the athletes or the team or other Olympic information. (Remember to change the Google Slide dimensions to an infographic format or copy my infographic template from here).  Use to find great  creative commons licenced icons for the infographic.
  • COLLABORATE on a class Google My Map of the athletes using data gathered by the students about the athlete's town, their age, position in the team, favourite food, photos etc.
  • COMMUNICATE a fan message to one of the team that tells the athlete an  interesting fact the student discovered out about them and wish them well.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

21st Century Learning and the integration of Religious Education and Literacy.

Students at Sacred Heart have been unpacking The Holy See - Misericordiae Vultus which was written by Pope Francis reflecting on the Year of Mercy. Students used Lego Movie Maker to summarise their understanding of the text so far. Students are highly enthusiastic and have created some fantastic movies.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A learning process at St Bernies in Lalor Park!

The staff (including myself) learnt a lot last Term when using the iPads to enhance learning. We discovered the amount of work that needed to go into allowing the students to authentically create using the SAMR model. Here is a look at what the SAMR model is all about:
We were given the task to create an image that needed to be framed by the end of the term to be sold individually at the Fete. The image had to capture the theme of "light".
At the beginning of the term, we discussed how we wanted the image to be created with our year 5 and year 6 students. We decided that we wanted to focus on photography in visual arts, and on inspirational quote writing in English (with a strong link to our Growth Mindset focus that we have been doing throughout the year).
The students begun the term by looking at photography techniques, and then practicing the specific technique. For example, students looked at distance (zooming) and how this impacts the image. Students discussed how the response to an image can be changed due to how far away certain objects are.  Mrs Nicole Sprainger also aided with teaching students some photography techniques which aided the students learning immensely.
The students begun their process by understanding what the end task needed to look like. We showed students examples of images linked with inspirational quotes. Students analysed what the quote meant and why the background image was chosen. Students began to understand how important it was to have the image link with the quote.
Students then began writing their own inspirational quotes and how to write short and sharp texts. This process took many weeks and students began to critically analyse their own work. They chose the one quote they liked the most. After this, they started to capture images from around the school that they believed linked to their quote. They were taught how to edit their image using many apps on the iPad. Students were able to choose the app they thought best suited their piece of work. This also took many weeks to teach. Students needed to play around with the app in order for the real learning to occur.
After this, students choose their final edited image and began the process of adding the text to their image. Students needed to understand how to add text successfully. This meant looking at the font style, the colour of the font and the size of the font.
Once students completed this, it was all over! We printed each students photo and framed them.
Here are some of the finished products:

I am sorry for the red boxes, I wanted to get rid of the students names. Myself and the other Stage 3 teachers were so proud of what the students had created! Even students of our lowest ability were able to achieve success due to the amount of time we spent on each little element of this project. The second image I have uploaded was created by one of our most vulnerable students.
If you would like to know more please don't hesitate to email me on

Tanya Janssen

Monday, September 21, 2015

Ilearn at St Joseph's

This term Ilearn continues to be an exciting project at St Joseph’s Schofields. Ipads continue to enhance the learning in a variety of ways within Stage 3, supporting students (and teachers!) as they communicate, collaborate, create and become more critical thinkers. 

During this term, the students have particularly loved the opportunity to utilise the ipads within engaging investigations during Mathematics. Whilst the teachers have been able to deepen the learning thanks to enriching professional learning and mentoring support from the Ilearn team.

This term in Mathematics, the teaching team planned and implemented investigations in Time and Volume and Capacity.

The Time investigation gave students the opportunity to use a range of ipad features and apps as they explored 24-hour time, duration, timezones and much more.

The Volume and Capacity investigation required students to contribute to mathematical conversations within Google slides and docs as they investigated buildings and then created their own. As students created their own towers, they recorded and shared their thinking as they developed an understanding of cubic centimetres and metres.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sacred Heart Westmead Ilearn in Mathematics

Our Stage 3 students have been busy working with their ipads on Data and creating graphs. 
Students engaged in a rich open ended task that had them working as a 'Mars Confectionary Executive' where they were asked to work in teams and create an M&M bag. Students had to think about how many M&Ms were in each bag, What colour break up there was, how could the M&M bag be represented mathematically, how could the data be collected and what is the probability of selecting a specific colour?
Students were also encouraged to prove their thinking.
Here is an example of a team's collaborative work using Book Creator.