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Monday, March 5, 2012

Our Dangerous Dinosaurs - Book Publishing

Ever done book publishing?

I use a company called Student Publishing & this is my 2nd year doing it with 1st graders.  Last year, 2010-11 we made a book It's a Zoo in Here! - my students each wrote about a different zoo animal.  I also did it with 5th graders - their books & writing differed, my book was 5th Grade Memories

My verdict on book publishing: lots of work but LOVE it, well worth the time!  I'd like to see it replace the yearbook...I mean, what do 1st graders really know about yearbooks & the yearbook is TONS of work for PTA - they're always in my room snapping pics for somethin'!?!?!?

Here's how it works in Room 13:
  • In 5th grade - every student made their own 10-15 page book, with illustrations on each page.  I sent it in to be typed, but the publisher will accept it if students type it themselves too - just check the materials for their requirements.
  • In 1st grade - every student makes one page of horizontal writing & one page of art, the pages get complied into a class book.  Parents can purchase, if they want - I don't pressure!  I get a FREE book (it is the student's original pages & I just have to get 100% of their accept/decline slips for ordering the book).
  • The kits come with everything you need (except markers for art) - I organize & assign pages.  I do this with 4 students at a time, in small groups {I teach writing in small groups already, so book publishing just gave us a different focus}.  The students write in their journal - rough drafts.  I edit & revise with them.  I know teachers have different expectations about spelling, but I want the book PUBLISHED to be error free, so I help with spelling A LOT more than I regularly do!
  • Once writing rough drafts are done I give a white 8.5 x 11" piece of copy paper to my kiddos.  They use my various drawing books to make their art - this year they each chose a different dinosaur.
  • I call students to the small group 4 at a time to write final drafts - we start by writing in pencil & then tracing over our pencil with Vis-a-vis markers.  (This is AFTER we have revised, edited, and I have re-read the pencil written final draft!).
  • I call students to small group 4 at a time to draw & use washable markers to illustrate their artwork.  The paper is glossy, so this can be a challenge - to avoid smears!  I am patient & help the kids go slowly, outlining first & filling in white space with as much color as we can. 
  • I make the cover art & title page, I add student photos to each artwork page, & I also add a page of my own art and writing to the book with a photo - the kids love this!
  • I send it in, so it will be mailed prior to our publishing date.  This year I am coordinator for the whole school, so I'm collecting books from K-5 & shipping them off over Spring Break. 
I'll show pics of the completed book in a few weeks...when it comes in.  So, if you want a fun & unique way to get students jazzed about writing - why not try book publishing?

Happy Writing,

Miss Kristan King

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