Tuesday, May 13, 2014

1st Graders Had An Unimaginable Adventure With Beekle & The Explain Everything App!!

Back in March I checked in with one of my favorite resources for great books, John Schu's blog Watch. Connect. Read.  That day back in March, he was sharing the trailer for a book named Beekle by Dan Santat.  ...A beautiful trailer for a beautiful book! 

The book wasn't published until April, but as soon as it was, I ran out and bought the book! I just knew that students would love the book, even if they didn't have an imaginary friend, their imaginations would be able to create one! Beekle is such a great reminder that our children have the wonderful gift of imagination!  Just like Beekle and his friend, I wanted my students to imagine the unimaginable adventures they would take with their imaginary friend...just in time for summer!

After reading the book, 1st graders created an imaginary friend, or told us about one they already have, using the Explain Everything iPad app!  This app is exactly what it says it is...it helps the user explain everything!  The creators of this fantastic app threw everything short of the kitchen sink in!  Here is the app description - 
Explain Everything is an easy-to-use design, screencasting, and interactive whiteboard tool that lets you annotate, animate, narrate, import, and export almost anything to and from almost anywhere

You would think, with such a list of functions, it would be complicated to use, but my first graders quickly and easily learned how to draw a picture of their imaginary friend, write a sentence about their adventure, and record their voices!  The voice recorder was a bit more complicated, but still very manageable! (For teachers trying this app for the first time, I would recommend tapping the add photo & record feature before using it with students! Tapping the add image and record buttons prompts the you to give permission for the app to have access to the camera roll and microphone.  You can ask 1st graders to say yes when these questions arise, but do so at your own risk. In my experience a large number of 1st graders will say no and then you must go into the privacy settings on the iPad and turn on the permissions. It is nice to have that out of the way when you start!)

Students did a beautiful job creating their imaginary friends, writing about them and recording their words. All in all, we had an unimaginable adventure!