When I think of crafting in digital literacy, I think of those literary elements that make writing sing as well as design elements that give a project more meaning and audience appeal. This week we worked on both aspects.
I read aloud two of Kate Messner’s picture books, Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt. Both of these books lead students on a journey of discovery about plants and animals. We learned about the subnivean layer in the snow and which animals hibernate and which ones remain active in tunnels below.
Following the reading, we read the facts about the animals in the back of the book. We also looked back at Kate’s craft moves. On a few pages the words are spread out and down the page to show action in the words themselves. She also used alliteration and imagery and figurative language. The craft moves of a real author are ours to take and play with.
My students turned to old favorite PowerPoint, while a few tried out Emaze. Madison found an Emaze background with an ocean, the ecosystem she had chosen to write about. Jacob and Noah used the drawing tools in PowerPoint to illustrate their pages. I showed them how to group the pieces together and move them with animation. So cool to watch a fish that you made out of the shape tool actually move in the water.
Lynzee chose the bayou for her ecosystem to study. She didn’t know about the nutria, so we talked about them and looked up information. When I turned back to see what she had written, I was pleased to see such clever craft moves.
Nutrias scrabble, skitter, scratch away the dirt as they search for the root of a forgotten summer plant to feast on when they are rare.
Andrew decided to research the African savanna. As he was researching, he found out about the plight of elephants from poaching. He decided he wanted to do something about it. This week he will present his findings to his classmates and try to raise funds to adopt an orphaned elephant. I suggested we make a poster out of the baby elephant picture I took this summer in Africa. He loved the idea. He will sell the poster at a profit. (Much discussion about how profit works.)
As a teacher of language arts, I feel drawn to the craft moves authors make. They become mentor texts for my students, but then my students amaze me with their own use of craft. They become authors (and difference makers) themselves in this digital world.
Join in the conversation with your link below: