I LOVE a good class made book! It teaches students about being an author, teamwork, and collaboration. And when that class book ends up in our classroom library, excitement fills the room! Below is the process I go through when doing a shared research project and class book.
Step 1: Pick your Topic
I complete this project every year during our science unit on farms. Our class also goes on a field trip to the farm each spring, so this connects perfectly.
Step 2: Start the Research
For about two weeks leading up to our trip to the farm, we read a variety of non-fiction books about farms. Gail Gibbons has a large collection of non-fiction books that are a great resource. We focus on different types of farms, and the animals, crops, and machines that are used. Students learn to compare and contrast this information in a venn diagram. They also learn the difference between fiction and non-fiction writing.
We start the creation of our class project when we return from our field trip.
Step 3: The Rough Draft
Students start by picking the specific topic they want to write about. I give them the topics they can choose from and try to get a variety for the book. Students then write their rough draft of their page. I remind them that since it is a non-fiction book, we must write facts, not opinions.
Step 4: The Illustrations
Students then draw their illustrations that match their writing. They make sure to add specific details in their illustrations. I remind them that once again, our pictures need to be accurate because we are writing non-fiction.
Step 5: The Typing
This is hands down their favorite part of the whole project. One at a time, I call students to type on the laptop. They copy from their rough draft, though I keep their spelling as “kid writing” because I think it is more authentic. I will do this while they are coloring their illustrations. If needed, I will spend a few days during science calling students up while they are working on independent work. You would be surprised how long it takes them to type two sentences!
Step 6: Putting it all together!
I print and then cut out all of the sentences and glue them to their illustrations. I laminate the book, bind it, and put it in the library. They are dying to read it and show of their work with their peers!