Getting Your Students Writing and Reading By Making A Class "Big" Book
Making class big books is a super-fun way to get your students writing and reading. They’re easy and your students really enjoy making their own personal page to contribute to the class book. Every year these books become my students’ favorite “Tummy Time Reading” favorites. I incorporate word wall words and report card standards so I’m getting lots of bang for my “time buck”!
Many of them are Home-School Connections so I’m involving parents each month. They are making time to do something special with their child. I have received lots of positive feedback from parents on the enjoyable quality time they have spent making these special pages. Their child is not only learning a report card standard, they are often learning about themselves and their family as well!
Here are some of the class big books that I do, that I think you’ll enjoy making with your students. You can click on the link to view/print the patterns for each INDIVIDUAL book or wait, and click on one link at the end of the article, to print all of the books on one pdf. For your convenience, the directions for all the books are on one pdf. I've also made a poster for you to display when you put your class-made books out on a table during conference time!
Click on the link for the poster or get it with the all-in-one down load. These things will remain free through July 2011 and then go on the shopping cart for only .59 cents each!
Seasons, I'm Special, and the Class Yellow Pages will stay FREE. Simply click on the WRITING apple on my HOME page and then click on CLASS BOOKS and there will be a list of all of the class books including the free ones. Enjoy!
Wel-gum To Our Sweet Class!
When my Y5’s come to class I want to learn some things about them, and they are eager to share that information. I also want to dive right into graphing and letting them know differences and similarities. One of our report card standards is to be able to recognize your name. I do all of the above, + lots more, with the above class book. It’s a big gumball machine. I write each student’s name on a gumball. They find their name and COLOR it their favorite FLAVOR. I explain to them that a flavor is different than their favorite color. i.e., my favorite color is purple, but my favorite flavor is cherry, so I would color my gumball red not purple, because grape is not my favorite flavor. I write the flavor words on the board for them to copy, to help them fill in the blank. We graph the results. When our school pictures come in I cut them in the shape of a circle and glue them to one of the empty gumballs and then laminate this book.
See Us Play ! Our Playground Book
Just ask any energetic 5-year-old what their favorite “subject” at school is and I’ll bet they say “recess”! A fun class book to make is a “See Us Play” book. Gather your little ones on the carpet and graph what their favorite playground “thing” to play on is. Take your list outside along with your digital camera and snap some pictures of your students playing on the swings, monkey bars, slide etc. . When you get the pix printed off have your students glue their photo to their “See us play” page. Have them fill in the information and then illustrate their page. You now have a great “easy reader” that will help them not only learn their friend's names, but a little bit about them too!
Our ABC Initial Chicka Boom Boom Book
We’re learning the alphabet as well as learning to recognize and write our names, so what could be more appropriate than to make an alphabet book? One of my favorite alphabet books is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin. I use this book to introduce learning the alphabet to my Y5's. One of my friends, Mrs. B., made me this adorable Coconut Tree sock puppet. I put a velcro scratchy dot on the back of plastic magnetic letters that I bought at The Dollar Store. I pass these out to my students; when I come to that particular letter during the reading of the story, the child holding that letter sticks him to Cheeco the coconut tree puppet. I've also included several skill sheets to go along with this book. I do several craft activities as well, and have lots of extensions for Chicka. Simply click on the Reading Apple on the home page and then click on Chicka Boom.
Yellow Pages “Who Ya Gonna Call?”
During October when we’re learning to dial 911 and having the fire department visit us, they tell us how important it is to know our phone number. It’s no longer a report card standard, but really helpful to know, so I try to stress to parents the need for them to help their child learn this valuable piece of information. To make it fun for them, I do a class Yellow Pages Big Book. It’s a Home-School Connection assignment that parents enjoy helping their child with and doesn’t take that long. I show my students the yellow pages and explain what they are used for. I tell them to think of what they love doing or what they are really good at that someone could call them and ask for help with. They are very excited about this assignment and think it’s fun that someone would call them to do a job! It’s a great introduction to learning their phone number, and also ties in with our economic's standard where we learn about "Goods and Services" as well as fitting in with social studies and studying about community helpers.
Our Favorite Color Book and Our Book Of Colors
Another report card standard is being able to identify nine colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, black, and brown; I tie this in with a math extension and we graph our favorite color. Since we have a color of the week, I also choose a day; send a note home with my students asking parents to please have their child wear that color and then I take a class photo. In that letter they are also asked to please bring some pictures from magazines of things that are that color. The next day I lay out a white sheet of construction paper at a gluing station center and children glue their color pictures on the page. This collaged picture and the photo of our class wearing the color of the week become the pictures in our Book of Colors along with the graphing results.
Our Favorite Seasons Book This class book helps teach my students about the seasons. We learn about them during our calendar time. This is the chant I teach my Y5's to help them learn the seasons: Winter, spring, summer, fall... Four seasons… And I love them all! I have my students learn the sign language for the bolded words. Learn how in my article "Sign Language in the Classroom." It's a great fine motor skill! There are two pages to this class book. One incorporates the chant as seen in the photo. I found the adorable paper clothes cut outs at this website: http://www.makingfriends.com/f_Friends.htm perhaps you can think of more ways to use them! The other has them choose and illustrate their favorite season. As a math extension we graph the results. Seasons Book
Our Book Of Shapes & Our Favorite Shape Book
Being able to recognize shapes is another report card standard and a nice way to tuck in the math standard of graphing. My children by now really enjoy giving their opinions via a graph. A parent letter home asking them to help their child find an example of each one of the shapes in a magazine and bring in the pictures to help collage a page for our book is a fun Home-School Connection assignment.
I Am Me; I Am Special Book
This is another Home-School Connection assignment that is sent home. Parents work on these 3 cute pages with their child and they become the pages in this class book. When I feature the “Special Star Of The Week” their pages are shared by the child during Sharing Time and then put on the “Star Bulletin Board”. I use this as a big self-esteem builder for my kids. I've included a Star Student Certificate and two different kinds of Star Notes your students can fill out for their star friend. I did a version of this when I taught high school. One young man shared with me that he saved his "praise paper" and carried it in his wallet to look at whenever he felt down! Wow! You just never know how you can touch a heart.
Here’s Where I Live Book
Being able to recite one’s address is no longer one of our report card standards, but just like learning your phone number, the police and fire departments agree that this is important information for a kindergartener to know and can sometimes save a life. To help make learning their address fun, I turn it into a class book activity. This is another Home-School Connection assignment. Parents work on this page with their child and they become the pages in this class book.
My Family Book
This Is My Family is another Home-School Connection Book. One of the students’ special exploratory classes is Spanish. They learn how to say the names of the family members in Spanish. When they are learning these I send home this assignment. Children trace the sentences and fill in the blanks + draw a picture of their family. Parents help them label the people and pets that live with them. Including a real photo makes our book extra special.
Our Graphing Book
We graph all sorts of things every day. Several times each month, I choose some extra fun things to graph in a more artistic way and make it into a page for our graphing book. In September, on the right, we graphed how we got to shool. We used our first day of school photo. During our science unit in October, on the left, we graphed if we did or did not like spiders. I wrote the children's names on a red sticker. These are laminated and first displayed on a wall in our hallway. We call it our "Wall Of Fame". After the month is over, I put the pages in our book. This is one of my students’ favorite books to look at. They like comparing how they “voted” with the rest of their classmates.
These are just a few of our favorites. We make a book almost every week in class as well based on whatever theme we’re doing. For some themes we'll make several different pages for one book. For example for our 100 Day celebration we make a class book and have three different pages: "If I had 100 wishes I would wish for...", "If I could eat 100 things I would eat 100 ...." and "If I could have 100 things I'd want 100..." They either copy a sentence from the board, or fill in the blank on a sheet of paper that I’ve run off, and then they illustrate their page. I collect their pages, put them into a booklet and read it to the class. Many times what they are doing lends itself to a math extension and we graph their opinions. In May we do a recipe book for Mother's Day as well as a Name Book. I ask their mom via a letter why their family chose that name for their child. It's another fun book.
I also have books that the children work on individually like the fun Very Hungry Student and I'm Thumbody Special books. Click on the links to view those free books. Rhyme Time: Moving Through The Months is also a wonderful whole-group project. Click on the link to view that entertaining book that teaches months, seasons and a whole lot more!
I hope you’ve gotten a few ideas to do with your students that will kick-start them into wanting to read and write! Class books are also a great way to really learn about your students and practice the life-skill of working together!
Happy writing and reading!