Today one of my teaching partners and Ijust finished up a project that took about a week to finish. It involved a couple of great mentor texts, a new iPad app (it's also an online site), and some unusual animals.
Then, we shared a couple of examples that had been previously written by a third grader and fifth grader as shared on Writing Fix. We read through their examples, highlighting the voice used, and trying to decipher what facts were being shared.
Next, students were to decide what animal to research. We wanted students to talk about an unusual animal, so we had them Google "interesting" or "unique" animals. We used graphic organizers from Writing Fix to help guide the students.
It's a very simple app that can be used for diary entries. You can have multiple journals if you'd like (some students wanted to make their own personal journal, not just one pretending to be an animal). Free download, and a different format to present. Students were able to share their journal entries through Apple TV or by sharing their iPad with their table mates.
It was a fun activity that the kids really got into. They enjoyed "becoming" the animal they researched. It was funny to hear their voice shine through. It was also fun for them (and me) to learn more about Aye Aye's, frilled neck lizards, suction cup bats, and blob fish and other unusual creatures.