BEAVERCREEK — Trebein Elementary third graders in Angela Hoh’s class ended the year as published authors.
As part of a writing and reading project involving research skills, non-fiction text features, note taking and paragraph writing, students wrote their own nonfiction books.
Students choose from a list of topics studied this year in class. Based on the topics chosen they were grouped into five publishing teams. The topics students chose to research included energy, animal adaptations, then verses now (history), and bullying.
Each team met together early on in the writing process to discuss what topics they wanted to learn more about and cover in their books. Students then worked together to divide the topics among group members. The class created a table of contents that was used as guide throughout the process for who was researching and writing about what on each page.
Students used their school iPads to research online, used eBooks, and used books from our school and local library to research their topics.
According to their teacher, they learned how to take good notes, how to paraphrase and how to cite their sources to give credit.
Students had lessons on strong topic sentences and creative wrap around sentences before beginning their rough draft paragraphs. They listened to mentor texts to get inspiration and to hear strong examples of ways to introduce their pages. Teams worked together to decide on appropriate subtitles for the pages or paragraphs.
Then students edited their writing themselves, with peers, and with the support of parents one on one at home. Once rough drafts were edited students began to type their final drafts.
Hoh said, “It was fun to see what they came up with and to read explanations of these topics from a third grader’s perspective. Teams had so many creative ideas and were so driven while completing this project. Students took a lot of initiative during the research stage of the process. The group who chose bullying as their topic met with their school counselor.”
Their counselor helped them to brainstorm ideas, discussed with them topics that would be important to teach or explain in their book, and provided them with other books on bullying. The group who chose energy as their topic met during their lunch. While they ate lunch in the classroom they experimented with various materials to learn about forms of energy such as sound, heat, and mechanical.
“These students asked to do this and asked for the extra help discussing their topic so they could learn more, which was really neat,” added their teacher.
The history group researched how transportation, communication, homes, food, and chores compare now to the 1800s. They did interviews with older members of the community to learn about changes in transportation, communication etc. Meanwhile, the Animal’s groups were finding all sorts of fun facts about their chosen animals, learning how they survive, what they eat, and where they live.
When students finished typing their books, adding pictures, designing their front cover, and formatting their fonts, they did a final edit of everything. The press date arrived and students completed their books. The published books arrived hardbound.
“Students now have a final masterpiece they can treasure for a lifetime, a published nonfiction book they have written. Already in third grade, they can say they’re truly published authors,” said Hoh. “In an increasingly technological age it is important that students develop this computer literacy. This project enabled students to get firsthand experience truly going through the writing process from research, to drafts, to editing, to typing, to finally publishing. This project would not have been possible without the great support of families at home, without student’s creative ideas and hard work, or without their teamwork.”
News-Current report compiled by Merrilee Embs.