In chapter 8 of our English textbook, the students learn the writing process for writing a book report. We have done this in the past by having the children read different books and then write about them.
But I struggled with this because I was not familiar with all the books they chose. I didn’t feel that I could adequately provide help. How could I tell if they were choosing the most important parts of the story if I didn’t know the story?
Then a colleague shared an idea with me. She has her students choose stories from our reading book. Perfect! These stories are short but include all the main points in the report, and since I’m familiar with each story line, I’m better able to help them in their planning and drafting stages.
To plan for the story report, we do a character web. This helps the student to think about the main character—what he thinks, feels, and looks like and what others think about him.
I decided to use the iPhone app WordFoto by bitCycle AB. Using this app, you can take a photo or choose one from your Camera Roll. You then add a set of words by typing in as many as ten words that describe the photo (or in this case the character).
Once you’ve finished that, you select which set of words to associate with your photo, and the app actually makes the photo you took out of the words you selected! You can then style your picture by choosing from styles within the app or by creating your own. Finally, you can save your new photo on your mobile device or share it on Facebook or via email.
When I did this with my students, I simply had them take a photo of an illustration of the main character from a page in their reading book. Then they added the words that described that character. They chose their style and produced some interesting visual character webs!
What type of book or story reports do you do with your students? Have you been able to incorporate technology in any way?