When doing research projects, it came to the attention of Sheila Buscemi at Valley Elementary School in Frederick, Maryland that her students were not making effective use of the features of non-fiction text to find the information they were seeking.
Sheila found that the best way to get students to use these in their research, was to have them employ them in their writing. So after sharing the following features: table of contents, types of print, photographs, captions, close-ups, and labeling, I gave students the task of creating non-fiction animal reports that utilized these features.
They began by reading an assortment of non-fiction texts identifying the features. Students then selected an animal and used Pixie to develop their own non-fiction book to show their understanding of the animal’s characteristics, habitat, offspring, and amazing facts.
Every student successfully completed a colorful, quality electronic nonfiction book! Because of the open-ended nature of Pixie’s tools, student illustrations and pages reflected the unique, creative talent and academic skill of each student. Even though the task was the same, each individual student’s schema was reflected in their book. We used Pixie’s sharing features to publish the books to HTML, posted to our web site, and invited parents in for a digital author’s day! Not one student complained about writing the dreaded “school report!”
Sheila shares, “After our initial success with Pixie, my students design creative and original illustrations to highlight their personal experiences, publish creative works, and share their knowledge about the world around them. From a class video of Pixie illustrations of special experiences with our grandparents for Grandparent’s Day, to t-shirts made with iron-on Pixie transfers of favorite fall activities, to individually created students generated videos of original writings the creative possibilities are endless!”