Each day the kids in our class make a “Play Plan.” They decide what they want to play with, draw a picture of it, and write it down. We pulled this idea from the Tools of the Mind curriculum, based on some of Vygotzky’s research.
One of the things we love about doing things this way, is the complete buy-in we get. When we ask the kids to write about seemingly meaningful topics in their traditional journals, we’ll often see kids become masters of procrastination. When we ask kids to write down how they are going to play each morning, we get meaningful pictures and words that are very expressive!
Today, one of our particularly techie students was having a slow morning. He needed a little fun to jump start his day. I invited him to do his play plan on the ipad instead of in the traditional pencil paper form. This was the first time I’d had children try any sort of journaling on the ipad. I think it was a success.
The app I had him use was Doodle Buddy. I had him begin by opening a text box and typing what he usually would have written. He wanted to play with Legos, so he typed: “Lagos” He then proceeded to draw a fabulous picture of a lego Titanic. (Our class is currently obsessed with “Titanic” play. The big toy on the playground has transformed into the famous sinking ship with preschoolers scrambling each recess to avert crisis and right the ship. ) He quickly discovered how to adjust the width of his pen, change colors, and add backgrounds. He was pleased with his product and excited by the idea that I could email it to his mom!
I emailed the picture to my laptop and printed it out on our printer. The black and white copy just doesn’t compare to the full color digital one, but I pasted it into his Play Plan anyway.
I’d love to find a way to use some different fonts. I like to use fonts that match the letter formation we use when we’re teaching kids to write and I couldn’t find any on Doodle Buddy. I’d also love to find an inexpensive way to print in color. More and more I’m finding (or creating) things that look fabulous on line in color, but drab and underwhelming when they’re printed in black and white. I think the long term goal might be to interact with these things on line rather than printing them, but we’re still pretty paper bound right now, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
What other apps are teachers using for journaling? I know there are a few others out there. Tell me about them in the comments.