Shared Research Project and Class Book

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

farm booksFor 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.

rough draft.jpgStep 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 TypingIMG_9082

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!

farm book 2

iPads in Language Arts Centers – Thanks to Donor’s Choose!

My Language Arts Centers are one of my favorite parts of my day as a teacher, and the same goes for my students. It is their opportunity to work independently and show their skills, while still having fun!

I recently completed a Donor’s Choose project and was able to get 3 iPad mini’s for my ipad 1.jpgclassroom! I am beyond excited to be able to use these iPads in my language arts centers and my students are giving them two thumbs up!

I have downloaded reading, math, and science apps to use during centers. There are specials settings you can to keep students engaged and on kid-friendly apps. Once we received the iPads, I met with small groups of students to teach them how they would use the iPads. Although many of them have tablets at home, they need to learn how we will use them at school.

ipad 2.jpgOnce they understand my expectations, I let them explore within the various apps I have purchased.  There are tons of free, or low priced, educational apps! Some of my students’ favorites include Starfall, Star Math, and ABCya. I plug headphones into the iPads so that the other centers are not interrupted. The students love the opportunity to independently learn and explore through this amazing technology!

I am beyond grateful for all of the generous donations that were made through Donor’s Choose, and allowed me to purchase these iPads. I recommend that all teachers use Donor’s Choose for any project you can think of – your students will only benefit from it!