News and Events
Cultivating lessons in writing, storytelling, confidence-building – A classroom collaborates to publish a book
Stevenson Elementary School 1st graders have officially become published authors, celebrating the completion of their collaborative fictional book, “First Graders at Night.” A project that stemmed from Stevenson teacher Jessica Row posing a challenging but exciting task to her class – writing a complete storybook from cover to cover.
From spelling and capital letters to punctuation and grammar - teaching 6-year-olds how to write can be a challenging task. Encouraging students to write about real-world or realistic experiences can be effective when beginning to learn how to write, as this provides students with context for why they are writing, confidence, and a basis for where to begin.
Row was ecstatic to see her students’ creativity flow, as their writing became a cohesive story. Each piece of the project held an intentional purpose. The class began by reading and reflecting on story book examples, then collectively choosing a topic to center the book around. Students collaborated while creating the book, piecing together planning sheets, editing the story and transferring them into book pages.
“We talked about everything that goes into being an author and an illustrator of a book,” said Row. “Things like neat handwriting, pictures that match words, and more – my students were so proud to have created everything in the book! We worked together as a team to make our book as strong as we possibly could.”
Row added that the students learned the process of what it takes to write a book – and through cooperation, supporting and encouraging each other, they got the job done.
First grader Yahniece Taylor said she enjoyed the process of working together with her classmates. “It was fun and great, because we like working together,” Yahniece said. “And when we work together, we all succeed. I like to work and succeed with my friends, my teacher and my classmates.”
Yahniece added that she was excited for the opportunity to feature her mother in her section of the story. “I really wanted to write about me and my mom, because I really love her,” she said. “And I’ve never written a book about her. I really wanted to share a story about my mom, because she was going to be so surprised. That’s why I wrote that, because I really love her.”
Lauren McKenzie wrote about a “Princess and Diva Spa Day,” which she based off of a true story from an experience she had. According to Lauren, it was a challenge to draw pictures to accompany her writing, but she said she did her very best. “I didn’t know I was going to draw that good of a picture!” she exclaimed. “I would love to be an author someday, maybe for a princess or LEGO book.”
Isaiah Jackson said he learned a lot about himself during the storybook writing process. “I learned that I’m a pretty good writer, and I’m good at drawing,” Isaiah said. “I even made a special tree on my drawing that has stars on it.”
“This project was definitely a turning point in our school year,” said Row. “I saw teamwork, cooperation, support and most importantly, they all gained confidence in their writing. Seeing 22 confident 1st grade writers is a phenomenal sight!”
The project fit well into the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) framework, as Stevenson Elementary is an authorized IB World School. “IB was completely intertwined in this project,” said Row. “It incorporated learning profiles, such as being a risk-taker, communicator and thinkers. It also fits into our “How We Express Ourselves” unit. I definitely want to plan on making this project an annual lesson.”