Ideas for starting the new school year

Catherine CappielloBack to School

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Our templates, lesson ideas and webinars will help you save time, or find inspiration for the new school year.

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Whether you're a Book Creator veteran or a novice - here are some ideas and concepts to help you get the most out of Book Creator in the coming school year.

Refresh your knowledge

If it helps, refer back to our full Getting Started with Book Creator guide for a refresher, or head over to our Certified Author training videos to learn the basics of setting up your account, inviting students and getting to grips with all the features in Book Creator.

The First 5s

Beth HollandDr. Beth Holland has some ideas on how you might divide your thought processes into 5s - the first 5 days, the first 5 weeks, and the first 5 months.

Read the full post: Building classroom community and culture with Book Creator

5 days

Imagine setting up a station with a single iPad, Chromebook, or even desktop during the first week of school and then personally engaging with every student as you co-create a page to introduce them to the class.

With younger students, this might be a first introduction to technology; and with older students, it could afford you the opportunity to make a personal connection through a shared activity.

5 weeks

Book Creator allows for both topic-centered (to-the-point) and topic-chaining communication. Students can clearly articulate their points in writing and still add context through audio, video, and imagery. Providing students with these options gives them multiple avenues through which to express their learning and also indicates that you value their voice.

Within the first five weeks, students also need the opportunity to engage in cooperative and collaborative learning as well as individual endeavors.

5 months

This year, how might we encourage our students to develop their global identities and make a contribution to the world?

Armed with Book Creator, consider how your students might capture the voices in their community and share their discoveries with the rest of the world.

Teach your first lesson with Book Creator

This year we released our ‘Teach Your First Lesson pack’, which includes five lesson plans and student templates for different age ranges, along with a teacher guide.

These templates are ready to remix and use in class straight away to introduce Book Creator to students.

Here's what's included:

  • 'Teach Your First Lesson' book with lesson plans for each template
  • Kindergarten and Grade 1-2 templates with video instructions for kids
  • Templates for grades 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12 all include audio tooltips

Learn more and get the templates here.

Capturing student work with digital portfolios

One of the great ways you can use Book Creator is to set up a portfolio for students at the start of the year, to capture their progress. Doing this at the start of the year will save you a lot of effort later on!

You have a few options to consider when thinking about how to set up for creating portfolios. Depending on how many libraries you have in your Book Creator account, you could consider:

My Digital Portfolio

  • 1 library per student
  • 1 book per student
  • 1 section in a book per student

You might also want to use this remixable digital portfolio template to give you a big headstart!

Configuring your libraries

Remember, if you're on the free plan, you'll only have 1 library so you'll need to be strategic about how you manage the 40 books allocation. But if you or your school has paid for a subscription, you'll have unlimited libraries on the 1,000 book plan.

So, at the start of the year, decide how you want to configure your libraries. You might set up a class library, or divide libraries into different subjects or grades, or create a library for a specific project.

Remember your My Books library allocation is separate, so use that for your draft books or other personal work.

See more: Housekeeping for the new year

Setting up collaboration

Speaking of collaboration, the power of Book Creator really comes alive when students work together.

If you're on a paid plan, you have access to real-time collaboration - just turn on the setting in your library. You could partner up students, or have the whole class working on one book. (Tip: that's also a good time to highlight good digital citizenship and why you don't delete other people's work!).

Don't forget to take advantage of our 14-day free trial for our real-time collaboration feature!

Choosing who can edit the book when collaborating

You can choose who has access to the book when collaborating

Use journals for authentic assessment

This example of Science Lab notebooks in Book Creator shows how Book Creator can transform learning (and this could be applied to any subject). Combining multimedia for students to show their knowledge and reflect on what they've learned will set them up for the whole year.

Learn more from Melissa Eaton's example and get her template here.

Foster Digital Citizenship

The start of the year is always a good time to introduce digital citizenship, and Book Creator can help with this. As you introduce the features of Book Creator, talk about why it's important to use a safe search for images, and why it's better to use copyright free images and how to properly cite them.

You can discuss what information is ok or not to share when publishing books online, and why you it's important to respect each other's work when collaborating on books together.

If you're looking for curriculum resources for teaching digital citizenship - we have just the thing! We partnered with Common Sense Education to bring you these three educational activity books.

Pause & Think Online
Your Rings of Responsibility
Online Friendships

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