Informational Writing: App Smashing With A Publishing Menu

Informational Writing: App Smashing With A Publishing Menu

Elementary researchers have a lot to accomplish! The sketchnote below summarizes what the TEKS require students to do. Common Core requires very similar standards from its writers. Informational writing and research is a process, and should take a while. Our class spent several weeks gathering information (read about that process here), writing and publishing videos to share.

Informational Text: App Smashing With A Publishing Menu

After my students gathered their information, we began the writing and publishing process. If I have one piece of advice for you it’s – don’t skip the writing and go straight to the video project with your young students. The process of selecting information, writing it in “their” words, revising and editing, as well as giving credit for the information they found is so important! Each part of the project has different values!

Setting Expectations for 2 Main Forms of Media –

Informational Writing: App Smashing With A Publishing Menu #edtech

So since we use text and videos so often, we wanted to share our learning in two different ways. Informational text (on paper) showcased the incredible growth my students had made as writers, and informational videos displayed their mad app smashing skills! This check sheet gave everyone a concrete list of the expectations, but they knew they could add as much beyond this as they wanted.

Publishing Informational Writing:

Not much makes my heart sing like watching students blossom into incredible writers! I purposefully save this big book project for late in the year. It’s engaging, but demanding of all their skills. We study text features all year, then they proudly put many into their texts.

These writers go through the entire writing process, including revising and editing, then proudly get to the published versions. For some students it takes a few days, for others over a week.  I put one student’s book together as a Flipagram so that you could see it.

Please feel free to download the  publishing paper I made for them, as well as the check list from above here.

Publishing Informational Videos:

Since we share iPads, my students share an assigned iPad between a couple of students. This works really well for projects like this where there are multiple steps. It just helps them keep track of their videos and images better. As students finished parts of their book, they began creating their video in chunks.

Title Page Menu

We used several App Menus as starting points for each section of the video. Each video turned out unique to the author because they chose different tools that fit them. I love using App Menus as they become more of a talking and planing tool than anything else. It provides a quick visual when a student is thinking about how to create. We ended up with 4 menus – Title, Information to Share, Diagram & Bibliography. You can download all of them here.

Informational Writing: App Smashing With A Publishing Menu

The App Menus help me have a quick check in meeting with some students, and more in-depth planning with others that need it. I really feel like they are a scaffolding tool that helps give students independence and me differentiate my publishing conferences.

After each video part was created, with minimal help from me, each student put their work into iMovie. They added their voice to some images using the record feature, and inserted music. Then we just uploaded to YouTube so that we could share.

Now don’t get me wrong – this process is messy, and can be chaotic. Lots of little brains needing affirmation or advice, and all at different stages in their process. But, it’s SO WORTH IT!

Here’s the finished video from the same student as above.

Each students video shows how each one chose to focus on different animal facts, and chose to share their work in a unique way. If you want to watch more you can click here to view the playlist.

I would say we met and surpassed those standards!

MZ Sig




P. S.  – When you see Tellagami on our App Menu – that’s the free version we’re using.

P. P. S.  – These App Menus are not comprehensive. Some students came up with their own other ideas for apps to use, and there are most certainly apps that could be added. They’re meant as a resource for creating. 🙂

4 Responses to Informational Writing: App Smashing With A Publishing Menu

  1. Wonderful idea and work by the students. The high standards set for the project is evident, and the enthusiasm for the project is visible, as well. I was particularly impressed with the analog work. The students did an amazing job with their diagrams, drawings, and writing. Good work!

    (The app menu link goes back to the check list. I hate it when I am certain I copied something but it didn’t actually copy)

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Sara,
      I’m glad you enjoyed their projects! They worked very hard and were so proud. I’m especially proud of their writing too!

      Thank you for taking the time to let me know about the link! I appreciate it, and fixed it! No point in posting things to share if the link doesn’t work! : )

  2. Love this!! Thanks for sharing Meghan!!

    I always am impressed by what your young learners can do! Do you have any posts or tips about how you get started in the beginning of the school year and build up to these amazing projects? I’d love to share your “real world” tips with my staff!

    • Thank you Lauren!

      I have a few posts, but really should write an update too! Here’s one I wrote about teaching “Fluent App Smashers” and I have this other one about collaborative learning environments.

      I really just follow the gradual release model like I do in any other subject. I try really hard to just weave the technology into our every day creating and learning process. We create a lot collaboratively, and I think it teaches them so many useful skills besides the tech tool, but also gets them ready to work independently too. Thanks for asking!