Several months ago one of our first grade teachers had an idea (I am pretty sure she got it from Lucy Calkins- we really like her here at our school). What if after we had a publishing party with our students final stories, we put the books in the school library? Then the whole elementary school could check out each other’s books, and the students would really be real authors! We e-mailed the school librarian to see if we could get a shelf reserved for this, and if we could put the books in the computer system. She happily obliged.
Can I be honest with you? I thought it was a great idea— really I did! The thing is… each first grade teacher only has six students, and laminating each page of each student’s book (so they wouldn’t get destroyed by the other students) for them, wasn’t too bad of a challenge. I have twice as many students (which is still a small class I know!), and my students- being in second grade- might write more, especially since we were doing our fairy tale unit. The thought of laminated a hundred pages (if not more!) of student’s writing was overwhelming. But after my students were able to check out the first grade “books” in our library, I had to do it. Their faces lit up when they held those books.
AND I AM SO GLAD I DID. I have never seen my students more proud and excited to complete their final published story. Being able to see it on the shelf, in our school library, was a huge excitement for them. They even got to LOOK up their books in the library catalog online. They looked so official.
Here is a picture if you made a search for a second grade book (sorry it’s dark!):
If you have the means to do this, DO IT. The corner shelf in our library has become very popular since their books showed up!
An example of what our books look like, this was from our “All About” unit. The students design a cover and back page:
What are some ways you get your students excited about their writing?