Last week I blogged about the screencasting app Explain Everything, and I'm still thinking about all the possibilities of using screencasting in the classroom.
I've been a huge fan of wordless picture books for years. Children's literature with beautiful illustrations has always been a draw for me, and now that I am not in the classroom and my children are all grown, I really have no excuse to keep on buying these books, but I do anyway.
I have not yet tried this in the classroom, but I'm eager to give it a go some day. I'd like to take pictures of some of the pages in the book, and then have the children's voices recorded as they tell the story. Older students could even add the text and narrate at the same time. With Explain Everything, students could add snippets of video related to the topic of the story, or add to the illustrations!
I am amazed and appreciative of an author's ability to tell a story through pictures alone. I've come across some wonderful ones, and I'd like to share them with you.
Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole is the story of a little girl helping a runaway slave, told in gorgeous pencil illustration alone. No words, no color. Imagine adding historic video from slavery times, and even some haunting music. Gives me chills.
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney is Aesop's fable told in stunning illustrations against the backdrop of the African Serengeti. I can hear African drums as children's voices retell this message that no act of kindness is ever wasted.
Pancakes for Breakfast by one of my favorite authors Tomie de Paola is a story young students would find very appealing in its humour. The little old lady is determined to make pancakes against all odds. Hmm... should we add a recipe? How to make maple syrup?
David Weisner has written many wordless picture books, all with beautiful, full-color illustrations. Flotsam is the story of a little boy who is beach-combing and finds an underwater camera. The pictures on the camera lead him on a magical adventure in his imagination. Wonderful writing prompts galore in this one! Weisner has written some other remarkable wordless books, including Tuesday, The Three Pigs, Freefall, Sector 7, and more.
Bluebird by Bob Staake is my new favourite book. This is a story of friendship and bullying, and is a very emotional read. A little bluebird befriends a boy who is bullied and lonely, and ultimately changes his life. Adding students' own voices to this story could be a very thought-provoking project.
The last book I'd like to talk about today is Zoom by Istvan Banyai. In this book, the reader "zooms" between a farm, a desert island, a ship and more. And then your eye zooms out as you realize you were not where you thought you were! Wonderful writing prompts in this book as well, and I'd love to see what students could create with Explain Everything.
Travelling Curriculum Support Teacher