Explain Everything Retell

Because the students were so taken with The Little Refugee last week we thought we would continue on with the theme and read Refugees by David Miller. This story has so many similarities to Anh Do’s story and the students were able to draw comparisons from each book.

Refugees tells the tale of two ducks whose home is destroyed when their swamp is dug up and they have to find a safe place to live. The difficult and dangerous journey that they undertake seems doomed to failure as they try unsuccessfully to settle in different environments, including an ocean, a busy river port and a swamp where duck shooting is allowed. They are close to exhaustion when the intervention of an unknown person changes their fate.

After discussing how the ducks’ story related to that of Anh Do’s, the students retold their version of the story on the iPads using the Explain Everything App. This is our third week of using this App and the students can now confidently use all the tools and have produced some terrific work.

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Explain Everything


Explain Everything ($2.99) is a really fabulous app that allows you to create your own presentations.  You can draw pictures and record your voice. We used the app to retell some of our favourite fairy tales.  Next week we will begin importing pictures into our presentations. These can be pictures we have drawn, photos we have taken or images we have saved from the Internet.



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Book Creator Tutorial

Book Creator for iPad is available from the iTunes Store for $5.49.

Our students having been using it to create their own ePubs. They can add images, text and voice recordings to their books before opening them in iBooks.

We haven’t tried but in theory you can also submit your books to the iBookstore.

The app is very intuitive and our students are finding it fun and easy to use.




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Drawing Pad Tutorial

The Drawing Pad App is available from the iTunes store for $1.99.

It is a fantastic app. It includes a large range of drawing tools and colours. You can add backgrounds, stamps and stickers. You can import images from your camera roll and photo albums.

There are lots of options for exporting your finished work including:

  • Saving to your Camera Roll
  • Emailing
  • Printing
  • Posting to Facebook and Twitter

The only downside is that you can not add text.


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The Sneetches

Today we shared what is now Ms McLeods favourite Dr Seuss book.  In the past Ms McLeod has always vowed that ‘Are you my Mother?’ was her pick of Dr Seuss’s collection, however, after today she will admit that ‘The Sneetches’ has  made it’s way to the top of her list. In this story we are introduced to the Sneetches who are odd-looking creatures that have socially divided themselves into two separate groups: The Star-Bellied Sneetches and the Plain-Bellied Sneetches. The Star-Bellied Sneetches are the dominant group and shun the Plain-Bellied Sneetches. The Plain-Belly Sneetches are fairly meek and spend most of their days wishing they had stars of their own. The Sneetches segregated living situation is suddenly thrown out of whack when they get a visit from Sylvester McMonkey McBean. When he arrives on the beaches, he gets right to work and sets up a Star-On Machine. At the sight of this contraption, the Plain-Belly Sneetches are more than willing to pay the $3 fee to climb into the machine and become part of the “in” crowd.  Now, obviously, there is no way for the original Star-Bellied Sneetches to discriminate against the no-longer-plain-bellied Sneetches, so they become very mad. McBean has a solution just waiting for them – The Star-Off Machine. A trip through this machine costs $10 and leaves the Star-Bellied Sneetches star-free and exclusive once more. I’m sure you can guess where the story goes from here. The Sneetches bankrupt themselves running between the two machines trying to either fit in or stand out, and at the end of the day they are unable to tell one Sneetch from the other. However, despite McBean’s insistence as he drives away rich, that you can “never teach a Sneetch”, the Sneetches come to the realization that “Sneetches are Sneetches and no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches”.

There are so many wonderful lessons to be learnt from this book.  We got half of the grade to act out the story while the other half took photos with the camera app on the iPads.  The students then used the ‘Book Creator’ app to document different parts of the story.  We hope they came away with a better understanding of discrimination,  prejudice and consumerism.  If, however, the message was lost on them they certainly had a lot of fun anyway!

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