“Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?”

In Beth Campbell’s 7th grade Spanish classes, students start an immersive and multi-faced technology project by imitating the phrasing from this class picture book by Bill Martin, Jr. Students are tasked to create a Spanish version of this book, using their own theme in replacement of Martin, Jr.’s animals.  Several students choose Disney characters, others choose food, and a few pick favorite athletes as their theme.

After students have picked their themes, they get busy writing a script for the story, having it checked for grammar and spelling by Mrs. Campbell before the final production stages. In order to transform their script into an electronic book, they will be using the technology platform Adobe Spark. Adobe Spark allows users to insert text, images, and voice recordings into multi-slide presentations that can be shared online. Students have fun as they change design themes, add pictures, and finally record their voices and publish their finished product.

In my role as a technology coach at Westview Hills Middle School in suburban Chicago, one of most enjoyable aspects of my job is to see projects evolve over the years. The Spanish picture book project described above started off several years ago with students creating their own versions using paper and markers. For the oral portion, students would read their book to their class. We have tried numerous technology platforms over the years, from Shadow Puppet to Google Slides combined with Screencastify. Each product has had pros and cons, and this year we decided we were ready to try something new. Adobe Spark seemed like a perfect combination of components we have liked in past platforms. It is easy to record audio and the finished presentations look professional and inviting. Students found it easy to use and could login with their Google accounts.

As this project continues to evolve, next year we hope to share the electronic picture books with K-2 Spanish-speaking students in our district. After the K-2 students view the books, they can record their feedback and share with our 7th-grade students. Every evolution of the project has enhanced student learning and helped to develop new skills in technology and the content area. The electronic format allows for seamless teacher and peer feedback and the ability to share throughout our district and the world. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this exciting project!
In what ways have your projects evolved over the years, particularly with the integration of technology?

Megan Flaherty, Librarian and Instructional Coach Westview Junior High