One Best Thing - Digital Student Workbooks with Pages

The One Best Thing project that I want to share with the Apple Education Community is my Digital Student Workbooks that I create in Pages. The resource that I have here is my workbook for our Non-Fiction Reading Unit - Bushfires in Australia.

At the beginning of the 2024 school year, my school made the curriculum decision to place a stronger focus on the study of non-fiction texts in reading, and moving towards a knowledge-rich curriculum. There is a lot of great work from many organisations in this space. I got a lot of my information from Think Forward Educators and their Read2Learn Project.

I had been making digital workbooks for novel studies and long-term projects for years now and they worked great. Given that we were changing our approaches to what we taught, I felt that the best thing that I could offer as an ADE and technology specialist was to integrate the iPad and digital student workbooks into our planning from the start. The idea was to plan with the integration of technology in mind right from Day 1 so that it became a norm across the school and not something that was thought about after the initial planning was done. I wanted my digital workbooks to be an integral part of the process and not an afterthought.

My goal with the workbook itself was to create a document that encouraged digital integration without sacrificing pen-and-paper work as well. In the attached documents you will find each section split in the following way.

  1. Text extract
  2. Checklist of tasks and reflection questions
  3. A comprehension activity that is completed digitally.
  4. A comprehension activity that is completed in their paper exercise books.
  5. Comprehension questions in the form of short answer responses.


Cover Page for Student Digital Workbook in the Pages app. Titled Bushfires in Australia, Student Workbook
Bushfires in Australia Student Workbook in Pages.


An activity page from the Pages Student Workbook. The activity contains a placeholder image for students to input their work.
An example of an activity page from the Student Workbook.
This setup allowed me to address ICT skills and use the power of Pages and the iPad to enhance learning. Features such as video and audio recording, dictation and Voice-to-Text are commonly used in my class. They allow students to access and create content in multiple forms and to the best of their ability. The students also worked on pen-and-paper tasks to focus on handwriting skills and reduce some of the screen time. My Allied Professional and I could split our class into small focus groups working on the different activities.

When creating these documents, I found it important to start with my unit planning. I planned out the content of the term, the learning objectives that I wanted to achieve and then the types of activities that I felt could help me achieve those goals. Once I had the outline of the unit of work and activities that I wanted to use in class, I started to work on how I could create the digital scaffolds and templates using Pages. This ensured that I was building a workbook that matched what I wanted to teach and supported the explicit teaching that I would be doing in class. At all points, it was designed to be a resource that was built around my teaching and wasn't a resource that was influencing my teaching.

Another example of an activity page from the workbook. This time a template for short answer responses.
Short answer response template from the student workbook.
There is also a Keynote document for the teacher to guide the students through the various tasks and contains different links to supplementary resources. The Keynote document would accompany the whole-class explicit teaching of the content and then provide information and resources to help the students complete their digital and exercise book activities. The whole unit was designed to last for about a term within our current reading program parameters of about 3-4 hours a week.


A Keynote slide from the teacher presentation containing the class text, key vocabulary words and key teaching points.
The class text extract from the teacher presentation Keynote document.
Another slide from the teacher's presentation. This one uses QR codes to direct students to supplementary resources.
QR Codes used to direct students to supporting resources.
These workbooks and resources are being used by all teachers in my year group and the Reading program has been a big success so far. We plan to conduct another non-fiction study in Term 3 this year, so another unit will need to be created for that.

I have attached the Keynote Presentation for Teachers and the Student Workbook from Pages to this post. Please feel free to download, use and adapt as you wish. I hope other teachers can find these resources helpful.

I'm still new to the knowledge-rich curriculum movement. If any educators out there have insights and knowledge to share, I would love to hear from you.

Finally, I would love for this to be a discussion point for my fellow educators. If you do use these documents in some form, I would be keen to hear how it is being used. It would also be great to hear from other teachers who do something similar to this and share ideas with each other.



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