This morning the kids shared with family members, friends, and teachers, the hard work they put into creating our Harlem Renaissance magazine, Heroes & Hotspots. Since the hard copies hadn't arrived in the mail yet, we used the iPads to share the digital version. I used the online service HP Magcloud to publish it both digitally (free!) and as a glossy magazine (not free - grateful we have the budget to cover this!).
To create the magazine, students chose a department of interest that related to the Harlem Renaissance: literature, music, art, leaders, dance and landmarks. Then they divvied up the topics within their department so that every student ended up with a specific topic to research and become an expert on. For example, TL studied artist Aaron Douglas and JS studied the Savoy Ballroom. Everyone took point-form notes during their research and used their notes to craft a nonfiction article about their topic. Finally, they created a comic using Comic Life that would teach the reader one small piece of information. Of course, we had to teach them how to do all of those things along the way, which we did during reading and writing workshop time. Our tech teacher, Dylan, got the kids up to speed with Comic Life, as well as an online image editor called pixlr.com.
I love this project because it so naturally integrates social studies, reading, writing and technology. It's a long process to get to the end product, but knowing they will have a glossy magazine to hold in their hands kept the kids motivated until the end.