Check out these Journals Alive: A kindergarten is a magical place where reality meets fantasy. Let me introduce you to THE PERFECT JOURNAL where handwriting and imagination meet the simple-to-use technology of augmented reality. Friends, this is Journals Alive. Let me show you how I set up, implemented, and saw learning excitement and success with Journals Alive: Augments Reality Journals.
Setting Up Journals Alive
First, I got my journals from Alive Studios and I simply wrote names on the outside. You can see the blue K in the corner, as these journals are for the Kindergarten level. You can peek at other levels here. They look typical, and for the most part, they are typical for little learners.
Next, I download their FREE app to our devices. I know many teachers express that they can only use free apps for their devices so this is a great tip to know. The Journals Alive app is 100% free. It is also good to note that my students found this app extremely user-friendly.
Then, I set out my students’ NEW Journals Alive at their seats. I did not place iPads out for students yet, because I wanted them to listen to my instructions before they started working.
Don’t worry, I do not have 13 students in my class. There are more tables to the side you can’t see. 🙂 But you can see our journals are out and I am about to place out supply bins.
One Helpful Classroom Management Tip
You can see there is a separate sticker pack. For each Journal Alive, there is an achievement sticker sheet that allows students to earn that colorful animal sticker. My students were 100% game for earning these stickers. I told my students that I would check their work and if it was “Zoo Keeper Worthy,” I would award them their sticker.
One tip I for those who are using this journal with a whole class is to write the student’s name on the back of their sticker pack OR you could do what I did. I stapled each sticker sheet to the back of their journal. 🙂 Stapling the stickers to the last page was a good way to keep all the sticker sheets organized for me. I have not had any issues with students placing their own stickers on their journals. They really want to wait for me to assess their zoo keeper skills and award them their sticker myself.
I thought about putting their individual stickers stapled to the other side of the front cover, but the directions for scanning and using the app to make the journals come alive were on that portion. I knew parents would need these instructions when the journals went home so I wanted to preserve that page.
Using Journals Alive in the Classroom
Since we used these journals at the end of the school year as a review of our letters, my students were asked to start with Aa and work forward. You could easily integrate these journals into daily or weekly letter practice.
Next, students are asked to color the supporting sound character like Amos Alligator shown above. Then they can scan the interactive ladybug on the page. This is where the magic happens! Once a student opens the free app and scans the lettered ladybug, in this case, an “Aa,” the device shows them the animal interactively. And it does so much more!
What is Augmented Reality?
Once those bugs on each page are scanned, your students can see and hear the animal come to life. (This is called augmented reality.) This student is working on Ee. He positioned the camera so that the elephant was on the crayons. You can manipulate the animal to make it bigger or smaller. There is even handwriting assistance for letter formation to make this journal MORE interactive.
My students love to leave the animal running as they practice letter formation and a simple letter sound activity. Each letter has one of four different sound activities and it alternates between these activities. (You can check out the app integration ideas here.)
You do not have to have a lot of devices for this activity either. It is pretty easy to share devices if you desire. I love that the app allows the learner to see and hear the animal while they are learning. Some of our learners do not have the background knowledge of certain animals. This allows all learners to gain more understanding about the animals and letters with sounds all at the same time.
This student is working on Gerdy Giraffe.
And Gerdy comes to life on his tablet.
Here is an example of the letter Dd for Dana Dolphin.
You can also check out Celine Cow.
As an educator who loves technology, I am a big fan of these journals! My students are using them as an end-of-the-year review, but I am hoping to purchase another class set next year. I want us to work on them as we teach each and every letter. I know they will be a huge success because my students this year and begging to come in to work on them.
An added bonus is being able to send the journal home over the summer for students to enjoy this interactive journal at home. Since the app is free, I am sure parents can download it on their own phones or devices to let the learning come alive at their home too. What a fun way to use augmented reality at home!
How to Purchase Journals Alive
One of my favorite parts about Letters Alive Journals is the price point! This is something teachers can afford for their students using grade level or school money. You can purchase independent journals here or a class set of 20 journals. (Parents you can buy just ONE journal and teachers can get class sets.)