Over the course of the first two writing units, P1-6 students transformed into writers. Writing Workshop became the time of the day where they were able to tell and share their “ooh, ooh” stories. They became more confident and fluent writers and we were cruising.
Then it was time to move on to the informational "How -To" unit. Many of the students struggled to make the switch from writing to entertain to writing to inform. Then a colleague suggested watching some videos on Howcast.com. Instantly, my students became intrigued with the videos. When I suggested that we make our own Howcasts, the room erupted. It was amazing to watch how many ideas for books started pouring out of them. They now had purpose and drive and all of them were extremely motivated to write.
Each student wrote 8-10 How-To books over the course of the unit. I conferred with each student to decide which book would be best to make into a Howcast. The students were responsible for bringing in any material and "directing" their videos. I used iMovie for the first time and was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to use iMovie on an iPad. We shot the videos and did the voice overs during the last two weeks of the unit and presented all of our Howcasts at our end-of-unit publishing party. We served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (following the steps of our How to book!) and parents and staff watched, read, and learned how to do a whole bunch of things!
Click here for some awesome student HOWCASTS