Expert Book Cover Pages
A Collaboration with Nick Williams (3rd Grade Teacher at Cragmont)
On their way out to recess one day mid-morning in early March, several students asked me if I’d be able to print out their expert book cover pages. That was exactly why I was heading into their classroom at Cragmont Elementary. Just days earlier students had created their cover pages in Google Docs and ever since then they couldn’t wait to get their hands on their creations. Nick Williams, their third grade teacher, had had emailed me, “My students are dying to have their printed covers.” It was adorable to see their genuine excitement firsthand as I entered the room simply to help print.
During my quick visit, Nick and I added the extension PDF Mergy in Google Drive so we could merge all the students’ Docs from Nick’s Google Drive Classroom folder into one PDF document and efficiently print all of their finished products in one fell swoop. Voilà. All of his students’ finished work printed out in seconds.
But the story doesn’t end there and actually began a few weeks earlier. Nick invited me to lead a series of technology lessons. We started with digital citizenship, introduced Google Classroom, and then Nick reached out to me with this project in mind–creating cover pages for their expert books. What a striking way to integrate technology into the TCRWP curriculum while explicitly teaching tech skills in a fun and engaging way.
In less than an hour long lesson, students accessed the assignment in Nick’s Google Classroom and created a blank Google Doc. Then students searched for an image related to their topic using Kiddle, a safe search engine for students. We showed students how to use both hands to drag and drop image from browser into Google Doc on their Chromebooks. Under our guidance along with the help of a parent volunteer in the room, students typed in their title and names and played with the formatting tools to resize and format their image and text.
Fast forward to the culmination of this project two days later. Students glowed with pride as they presented their books during a lovely publishing party attended by many of their parents and other invited guests.
It was an opportunity to celebrate their incredible books–each containing a detailed table of contents, multiple chapters, and additional creative touches including an about the author section and of course their cover page. In a short amount of time, this tech activity added a little pizzazz to a major writing project and introduced a few new tech skills.
– Mia Gittlen, K-8 Instructional Technology TSA