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Elementary School Project: iBook

Using Words to Describe Your World

The Unit of Practice


How can students learn to write compositions that describe and explain familiar objects, events, experiences and places? How can students learn to use adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions to describe their environment? Students can use their surroundings to make the writing process more contextual, thus, more personal.


m iBook computers m AppleWorks


Students explore their school, home, and community and develop a more contextual understanding of adjectives, prepositions, and adverbs. They write structured sentences using their inventory of words. For their final project, students present their descriptive sentences to the class as an AppleWorks presentation, including one sentence per presentation slide. Depending on the amount of time, students can illustrate their slides using the drawing or painting tools in AppleWorks to better visualize their slides. Throughout, students continue to develop their keyboarding skills.


Students work independently or in pairs. Individually they are responsible for collecting the words that describe their surroundings (trees, cars, people, sounds, and smells). They write the prepositional phrases, adjectives, and adverbs that help describe what they see using AppleWorks and an iBook computer. In AppleWorks, students use the Thesaurus to find two other words that can describe the same thing. Sherlock 2 can also be used as a Thesaurus.

Elementary School Project: iBook



Grade 4, 8, and 9: 1.0 Word Analysis, Fluency, and Systematic Vocabulary Development Students understand the basic features of reading. They select letter patterns and know how to translate them into spoken language by using phonics, syllabication, and word parts. They apply this knowledge to achieve fluent oral and silent reading. Sentence Structure 1.1 Use simple and compound sentences in writing and speaking. 1.2 Combine short, related sentences with appositives, participial phrases, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositional phrases. Grammar 1.3 Identify and use regular and irregular verbs, adverbs, prepositions, and coordinating conjunctions in writing and speaking. 2.0 Writing Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics) Students write compositions that describe and explain familiar objects, events, and experiences. Student writing demonstrates a command of standard American English and the drafting, research, and organizational strategies outlined in Writing Standard 1.0. Using the writing strategies of grade four outlined in Writing Standard 1.0, students: 2.1 Write narratives: a. Relate ideas, observations, or recollections of an event or experience. b. Provide a context to enable the reader to imagine the world of the event or experience. c. Use concrete sensory details. d. Provide insight into why the selected event or experience is memorable. 2.2 Write responses to literature: a. Demonstrate an understanding of the literary work. b. Support judgments through references to both the text and prior knowledge.


Elementary School Project: iBook

2.3 Write information reports: a. Frame a central question about an issue or situation. b. Include facts and details for focus. c. Draw from more than one source of information (e.g., speakers, books, newspapers, other media sources). 2.4 Write summaries that contain the main ideas of the reading selection and the most significant details.


Students work outside of class to collect the words. Words can be collected from the school building or grounds, their homes, or in the community. Students work independently or in pairs to collect the words, cluster, and outline the descriptive sentences. Students also write the sentences, proofread each other's sentences, and present the sentences in an AppleWorks presentation in class. One day is needed to collect the information outside of class.


The teacher assesses the unit by creating a rubric which measures the word and phrase collection, sentence structure, presentation slides, teamwork (if applicable), and communication skills during the presentation. The project Students use a learning experience outside of the classroom to write sentences that describe what they are seeing. In the process, they learn abstract concepts like adverbs, adjectives, and prepositional phrases. They will need to use these concepts to help them visualize what they are seeing in cohesive sentences. Individually or paired up with another student, they collect the information (words and phrases). They input the information into an AppleWorks word-processing document (or into a pre-made template. See the "Options and Extension Activities" section.) The final product can be a printed document with the descriptive sentences, or a slide presentation of the sentences and their accompanied drawings.

Phase 1: Discussion and planning

The teacher begins the project by creating descriptive sentences in the classroom, using objects, students, and surroundings. Students can input words and phrases during this process. After a couple of sentences have been collectively created, the teacher discusses what an adjective is by pointing to it on the whiteboard (or iBook connected to a monitor or screen) and pointing to it in the class. The teacher can do the same for the prepositional phrases and adverbs.

Elementary School Project: iBook


Students then share their prepositional phrases, adjectives, and adverbs. The teacher writes them down so all students can see. The teacher explains the assignment, the goals, and deadline of the project to the class. The students are instructed to take the iBooks outside of the class (in the school, or even a field trip), sit in one place, and take an inventory of descriptive words using Appleworks. A pre-made inventory template (pre-installed on all of the iBooks), can be used instead of a blank word-processing document.

My Surroundings Inventory Guide (Sample template) What I see


What I hear

What I smell

What I feel

tree sidewalk building

birds wind people talking loud birds by the people laughing loudly

grass tar bread wet grass on the wet grass smells badly

cold happy silly cold air next to the silly boy I am lonely

Adjectives Prepositional phrases Adverbs

big tree under the big tree stands happily

The teacher shows students how to fill out a guide. They should be encouraged to ask their partner or nearby student for help. The teacher can also assist with this part.

Phase 2: Gathering the words

Students, in pairs, go outside of the class and find a place to sit down with their iBook. Students open AppleWorks (or the pre-made template) and begin to write down descriptive words. The teacher should circulate and help with spelling, if needed. Once the teacher feels enough time has passed for the word gathering, the students are called back into class. In class, the students can check their spelling using the spelling checker or asking the teacher for the correct spelling. All of the work must be saved into the project turn-in folder.

Phase 3: Finding the meaning and synonyms

Using their the list of words, students open the AppleWorks Thesaurus (by choosing Writing Tools from the Edit menu, and Thesaurus from the submenu) and find the meaning of the word as well as a synonym for it. For example: m Word: Laughing. Meaning: Adj. Deserving laughter. Synonym: Comic.


Elementary School Project: iBook


The teacher should explain what the abbreviations (Adj., Adv., etc.) mean.

Students type the synonyms next to the original word so the teacher can check to make sure the students used the Thesaurus.

Phase 4: Structuring sentences

From the collected work, students begin to write descriptive and compound sentences using prepositional phrases, adjectives and adverbs. They write four sentences: m What I see: m What I hear: m What I smell: m What I feel:

Phase 5: Visualize the word and presentation

Students can synthesize their sentences by creating drawings of the object or area they're describing. For help creating the presentation, students can use the Step-byStep Card "Making a Presentation With AppleWorks 6." To create the necessary number of slides for the presentation, click the symbol in the Controls window for the amount of slides needed. In Presentation mode, students can copy and paste their sentence anywhere on the slide, and decorate it with fun backgrounds. Students can use the tools in the toolbox to draw what they saw, heard, smelled, and felt. After each sentence has its own slide and the students are ready to show them, click the fourth lower tab in the Controls window and click the Play button. Preparation m Make sure the students know how to use the iBook: how to turn it on and off, handle it, save work, and connect it to a TV or projection system. m Make sure the students know how to create documents in AppleWorks: wordprocessing, drawing, painting, and slide shows. m If they use the Internet, students need to know how to use Sherlock 2's Thesaurus and Dictionary option tab. m Make sure all of the iBooks have any templates needed for the project. Also, create a turn-in folder on all of the iBooks so the students and teachers know where to find the projects. m To assist the teacher, a word inventory template can be created using the Table tool in AppleWorks. The students can use this as a guide to help them organize their words.

Elementary School Project: iBook


m For example: On the column side, the teacher can write "What I see (2) What I hear (3) What I smell and (4) What I feel." On the rows side, the teacher can write "Adjective (2) Prepositional phrases and (3) Adverbs." This way, the students have some additional guidance. An example or two for each area might also help. Options and extension activities m To assist in the assessment process, have the students read each other's work. Ask them to make recommendations to each other's sentences. m A final project can include the sentence and a picture of the area being described. The teacher can select a sentence and accompanying picture from each student and use this to present in a faculty meeting, PTSA, or staff development session. m If USB cameras are available, students can use photos of the objects they are describing. These images can be imported into the presentation slides.


Elementary School Project: iBook


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