An Early Years Shape Book about Bonfire Night

We are getting ready to teach the children how to make Maths Journals again this year, but before we hand children their own iPads, we need to model book creating in maths first. You can read more about Maths Journals here.

Bonfire Night is a British festival remembering The Gunpowder Plot from over 400 years ago. Guy Fawkes attempted to murder King James who would be in The Houses of Parliament on November 5th 1605 (I hope I have that date right?). Guy Fawkes obviously failed as The Houses of Parliament still stand today and every year on November 5th our children visit a bonfire and watch fireworks which depict what could have happened should Guy Fawkes have been successful.

This festival, like many others, lends itself well to cross-curricular learning. However, it also lends itself well to my connected classes project as our friends across Europe and America will not be celebrating Bonfire Night. Therefore it is a great opportunity to use technology to share this festival with them.

This year we authored a book.

Continuing with book authoring skills, as it has been steadier to develop this year, we planned to bring the iPads in to our firework shapes activity to record our designs. Each children photographed their firework shape picture for a page in the Book Creator text and they recorded their part of The Gunpowder Plot story.

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This activity introduced children to the skill of recording their practical math discoveries on the pages of a Book Creator book but also using the voice recorder to explain an idea.

Using Book Creator.

The app is very simple and age appropriate. All of the tools the children need to insert media in to the pages of their book is found in the + menu at the top of the screen.

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To be successful in this activity, children need to have mastered the basics of using an iPad: photography, navigating apps, using menus, holding the iPad. You can read about other activities which teach these skills here.

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Download Book Creator here.

Sharing our Book.

The purpose of authoring a book is for others to read it. That’s why you need a connected class (or two, three or four!) We share our books with children in Sweden, Italy, Ireland in Europe and South Carolina, Maine and Kansas in America. To do this from Book Creator is simple. The gallery below shows you how to name the book, export as an ePub and email to your connected class. If you use a cloud storage service like Dropbox, you can upload to there and share the download link with your connected class also.

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A Look at our Book.

Journalling in maths applies literacy and communication skills. It’s a great way to make practical maths cross curricular. In this example I’m not able to share the voice recordings on each page which tell the story of The Gunpowder Plot. However our friends in Maine received the book the very same day we made it and we are looking forward to a FaceTime call with them on Monday to talk more about our work.

As this activity had a maths objective focus, children also described the shapes they had used and why they had used them to create a fireworks picture. That alone was enough of a reason to apply shape knowledge, but to bring the shape pictures in to a non-fiction text about The Gunpowder Plot and to share a British festival with American friends brought this work to life! It gave a real purpose to using shapes for an illustration, but also to remember the story of The Gunpowder Plot and to use technology to communicate effectively.

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Download Book Creator here.

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