Collaboration Course 5 Design iPads

So proud of my students … Course 5 Final Project

For a while already I’m so proud of my Grade 4 students (and about myself) and finally I can tell you about it. The two Grade 4 German classes advanced level published their eBook about interesting facts about the brain.

The classes created, collaborated and contributed and it’s my hope that this publishing experience was something where learning started and future learning will happen.

Who can’t wait, here is the Link to the ebook on iTunes: Interessantes über das Gehirn.


Here a quick overview of what was happening in the classroom:

The students …

  • read nonfiction as learning about the brain
  • watched videos as learning about the brain
  • inquired into features of a nonfiction page
  • inquired into a chosen topic
  • applied the reading strategy “determine importance”
  • summarized nonfiction information
  • organized and created a nonfiction page with Book Creator
  • practiced and improved their German by using the language

=>  experienced the publishing process of a book
=> created a resource that will be available for download across the world

Here again the link to the iTunes Store: “Interessantes über das Gehirn“. The students will be more than happy to see that people are actually download the ebook and maybe even write a review. Thx.


The whole planning started in mid december with an empty “Understanding by Design” unit template which was very helpful in terms of thinking through the entire project. I had done the unit before therefore I knew the content and could focus more on redefining and recreating the unit. If you want to have a closer look on the planning, feel free to do this here:


The whole project ended with a video which describes it and reflects on it.

The students, my colleagues who were involved and I indeed had great learning experiences – we were all risk takers and learners in order to go a step further in terms of teaching and learning. Many things like learning through a flipped classroom, creating and publishing an eBook as well as working with a limited amount of iPads or own iPads students brought to school happened for the first time.

My colleague and I were amazed by the high level of motivation of the students. The fact that they watched movies to acquirer knowledge about the brain; the fact that they could chose their own topic to inquire into; the fact that the eBook will be published to a real audience; the fact that they got the chance to work with an iPad motivated them immensely. The students were learning and improving the German language through using the same.

One challenge I didn’t expect: the parents. The majority agreed to publish it on iTunes and also to mention the whole or only the first name. One student in my class didn’t even want create a nonfiction page with the iPad. “And my parents don’t want this either.”, he said. He couldn’t explain why and the parents never approached me and until today I don’t know what the reasons are. The student create then the page on paper.
Another parent couldn’t understand why it has to be published on iTunes. Unfortunately it seemed to be difficult for them to articulate their concerns. I have an idea of their concerns and maybe I still will get a chance to talk to them.

Obviously I took it for granted that parents agree to authentic and meaningful learning, partly also because they chose a PYP school for their child. I see now the need to let parents now even more and in detail what our ideas of teaching and learning these days are. Creation yes, (internal) collaboration yes, but I wonder now how important is contribution to a real audience for the parents (and for teachers)?!

Thank you COETAIL for a wonderful and exciting learning experience!

What comes next? Well, luckily the Coetail experience won’t end here! I’m excited to read and watch about the other final projects as well as to follow other educators within Coetail and around the world. Contribution will be a bigger part of my online life and I hope that once in a while I’ll inspire other people like so many great teachers and educators inspire my life.

So let’s keep in contact through Twitter (@blaho_blaho), through Google+, and email (blahoblaho at or whatever will be invented. It became so easy! Btw. I was the only one at our school who did the Coetail Course so I wouldn’t mind a Google Hangout to celebrate a little bit. Who is in?

18 replies on “So proud of my students … Course 5 Final Project”

Such a great video…..great music, you told your story and the story of your students very well. Love the final project. Congrats Verena on a job well done. You should be so proud of your students and yourself.


Verena, you’ve inspired me to incorporate publishing an ebook into my classes next year! This was a fantastic project and the video you created thoroughly described what you did. Great job!


Hi Verena,

What an amazing idea! So simple, so yet effective.

There are endless examples of where students put so much effort into a project or a piece of work, only to have their hard work displayed on a wall or a display board for a week or two, never to be seen again.
I can only imagine how proud you are of them (and they of themselves). To have their work published and shared globally certainly gives them (and you) serious bragging rights.

What was also so effective to me was the broad learning that was incorporated into this project, by including and developing so many skills into one product.

I can totally relate to your concerns about parents not giving permission for their children to be involved in an online publication, as this is what I am also faced with here in Kuwait – only on a much larger scale with much tighter restrictions, being in a very traditional culture. It is sad from our point of view, but also understandable from theirs, and we need to respect their decisions, as a child is a parent’s prize possession. Different strokes, as they say.

Fortunately, you got your (their) book published, and that means mission accomplished.

Simply brilliant! Well done Verena.



Thanks, Marius, for all the flowers (we say in Germany). It was all work worth and I hope I can give inspiration to many people!


Hi Verena,
You did such a great job of telling the story about your students work that it has inspired me to try out book creator for iPad in our Middle School Library. The fact that you have accomplished this work with 4th grade students gives me much more confidence to try creating eBooks with middle school aged children. Thank you so much. Ron


Thank you, Ron!

It’s also great to work with the iPads because they automatically create and initiate collaboration. With middle school students I would consider to use iBook Author on the Mac Books. Good luck!


Good Job dear,

I love your video and everything you said about COETAIL. Just like you anything I integrated in my teaching is because of COETAIL. I remember where I was during course one and where I am now. Your project is a good evidence of the courses you and others are taking. I can’t wait to see mine finished.


Hi Verena,
It was truly an authentic and meaningful learning experience for the students. They must be so proud and to see their work published on ebook and to itune. Like you mentioned the content may differ to the lesson, but the process could remain the same. This has inspired me to try out publishing on ebook next school year. Thank you for this wonderful project idea! Congratulations to you and your students!


Hi Verena,

What a great video! Not only did I enjoy watching it, but like any good media, it made me reflect a lot on my own students and how many skills they juggle when creating in a 21st century classroom.

Your students showed amazing creativity because you gave them the tools to do so. I myself have been part of the process of creating an iBook (our school yearbooks have been iBooks the past two years and I’ve been part of the committee both years), and that task alone is overwhelming.

I also really enjoyed your detailed and honest reflection. You still have wonderings as do I. This transformation happening in our classrooms is exciting and new, so it can be scary and risky. Sometimes we try things that work really well and other times we would’ve liked to have done things differently. That’s actually my favorite aspect of all these changes, that we have become true learners as well.

Congrats on your project Verena!


Hi Verena
I also did ebooks and learned a few extra things by watching your project. I hadn’t thought about the itunes portion and publishing it that way. That sounds neat and a way to make them available to a wider audience. Awesome stuff. I love how engaged your students were – mine also felt more excited about the learning when they were able to show it in transformative ways.

It was nice working with you – keep in touch.



Thanks, Tim. Now I’m even thinking whether and how it’s possible to publish a Kindle version?! We can’t take it for granted that everybody has an iPad or a macbook with the new operating system. It’s a pity that it’s late Sunday night already and I can’t google a little lit. 😉 Later.


Hi Verena

I’m feeling rather nostalgic. You were the first person to “friend” me and comment on my blog when I first started Coetail. I remember that I freaked out and was wondering, “WHO is this? Some online stalker?!” I had no Facebook or G+ or nothing personal on the internet before. So, it was a bit scary for me when it appeared someone wanted to “connect” with me. So, I understand the fears of your parents. There is SO MUCH on the media about what is scary on the Internet. Parents don’t realize what good there is too.

I think your project will forever change the way your students and their parents feel about having a presence on the Internet. Our fears are not always rational. I bet even that 1 student that didn’t participate digitally “grew”.

I’ve looked at your ebook. I don’t read a word of German except for “Bitte” and “Danke”. Despite my language limitations, it’s very attractive. I like the embedding of audio and video clips.

I bet your students didn’t even realize that they were learning “German” at the same time.

Thanks for “friending” me those early days. It’s been great to grow with you from the Course 2 AUP all the way to the Final Project G+ community.

I’ve downloaded your ebook as a souvenir of my Coetail days.

Yes, let’s keep in touch and try to have a Google Hangout celebration!

Danke Verena!



Thanks for your kind words, Vivian. I’m feeling the same – it was a great learning experience. Let’s continue to grow. And who knows … the fact that we don’t live so far from each other, maybe we will have a chance to see each other. See you at the party. 😉



Firstly, congratulations on the shift that you have undertaken in this COETAIL journey, very impressive and wonderful to see. I have certainly with you on this, and like you, proud of what I have achieved so far. Quality C5 FP like this inspire us to think of what now? Where next?

Wow, your students are published and available on iTunes! Fantastic. I can imagine that they are so excited by this and so they should be, (currently downloading).

Recently I sent out a Google Form to survey parents about next year’s Meet The Teacher Evening and the most popular topic that they want discussed is our move to 1:1 iPads! So knowing this and what you you experienced, I certainly need to working on educating our community.

Thank you for sharing your journey and congrats once again to your students for becoming published writers…no easy feat!

Keep in touch.



Hi Donovan,

Thanks for your kind words. 🙂 I appreciate all the collaborative exchange we experienced. It was inspiring, eye-opening, challenging in a very positive and enriching way.

What’s next? Good question. You know, currently I’m a German language teacher, but there have been some thinking going on recently and a change of position is there. It’s official but I’d rather talk about when it’s a little bit more settled. But believe me, I’m super excited. I’ll let you know. Latest end July / August.


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