Making writing exciting and new, publishing a collaborative children's story book

I want you to think about your own class and if you have a student or students that struggle in writing or reading or just need an idea that will help them get excited about literacy.

Our Project, “Where the germs lurk” had learners coming to school early to work, as well as wanting to work during their morning tea and lunch times. We are so lucky to have a tool, like the iPad, that allows us to create exciting and new ways to hook the students into their learning.

Here is a Clips video of the process and some examples of what we did via my Twitter.

Challenge Based Learning

Challenge based Learning was the over aching framework we looked at to support our teaching and learning.

Under the red boxes - We identified the literacy outcomes from the New Zealand Curriculum, that supported our ideas, to publish a book.

Under the green boxes it supported our mindset to help the learner, for example, how we would help students Collaborate, What resources to use and what activities we may use to ignite and drive our topic, as well as reading loads of fun children’s books.

And finally under the blue boxes, we looked at what skills the students needed to publish a book and looked at how they will use their iPads to collaborate and create, using keynote, Pages.

Mixed Ability Groupings

First got into mixed ability groups.

This was very important, as all students are held to high standards and encouraged to use each-other as a resource.

Struggling students benefited from the modelling of their peers, while higher-achieving students were challenged to articulate their understanding for their classmates.

All students benefited from the opportunity to collaborate with one another and engage their higher-order thinking.

The Hook - Looking at germs

We talked about how we were going to publish our own books called “Where the germs lurk’ and we needed an exciting hook. This is where the $3 microscopes from Kmart played an important roll. The kids went around exploring every and anything they could, sparking many conversations and new language that would end up in their books. They also took some disturbing images of earphone.


Talk - After a block of exploring in their groups, they began to brainstorm ideas around their book, talking about the problem and the solution. the settings, characters, content, key aspects and how the story would unfold.

Writing: Then they started to draft their story, while still collaborating, making sure it, made sense and the story flowed from page to page. The writing didn’t have to be long, but it had to relate to the illustrations.

Picture: When it came to the illustrations this is where all the exploring of picture books and germs came in handy. They needed to link them to the writing and make sure the setting and main characters continued through their book.

Everyone had to draft their writing and pictures in their books first. Also not everything needed to be on the iPad.


They then published their images together using keynote. We were lucky enough to use Classwork to collaborate on the same doc, however you can also use the collaborate tool on some of the native apps, by sending an email or sharing the link. We also used keynote because you can export each slide as an image.

Templates - Pages

To finish off we used the book template feature in pages to finalise our books. This included adding in the images and typing the story line in the set text boxes. Once again if you don’t have classwork, you can use the collaborate tool.

Ready to Publish

Finally they were ready to publish. Now every group is able to Export their books as an ePub which allows them to post to the book store, in this instance we didn’t do that. However they did exported their books as PDFs allowing them to post to Seesaw and share with their family and friends.

Template/Example Video

See attachment for Pages template and example.


All Comments

Posted on August 30, 2022

I love the $3 microscopes from Kmart, such a great tool to enhance learning. I can see why the students were so engaged in this experience.

Maximum file size: 400MB

Insert a video

Insert an image

Insert an image

125: 125
220: 220

This action can’t be undone.

Error Message

Are you sure you want to continue? Your changes will not be saved.

This post contains content from YouTube.

If you choose to view this content, YouTube may collect and process certain personal data. You can view YouTube’s <a href="" target="_blank">privacy policy here<span class="a11y">(opens in new window)</span>.</a>

This post contains content from YouTube.

You’ve rejected content from YouTube. Tap the button below to change your consent.