Friday, January 4, 2013

Guest Blog Post-Creating Class Books by First Grade Schoolhouse

I am excited today to be a part of the guest blogging exchange -  “New Year, New Ideas, New Possibilities Linky Party, hosted by PrimaryPossibilities. And I’m especially thrilled to be a guest at Ms. Jones Junction first grade blog.

Hi. My name is Mona. I’m a first grade teacher in California and absolutely love teaching first graders. First Grade Schoolhouse is the name of my blog. Blogging about teaching ideas and sharing experiences with other teachers has been a FUN and rewarding extension of teaching.

I love to read and I want my first graders to not only be successful readers, but also enjoy reading. I want them to be lifelong readers.

I want to share one of the things I do to promote a love of reading, and that’s with class books. I make class books throughout the year with the students. The books go into our reading center to be read over and over again. The books are quite worn by the end of the year, because they are read so much. {And that’s what I love most about them – lots of rereading, because the students enjoy reading them.}

Throughout the year, I have volunteers cut butcher paper that is 24” by 12.” These are folded to make a 12” x 12” book page. I have found this to be a good size, because the children like putting the books on the carpet and reading them with a partner. I like having them prepared in advance, so it’s easy to quickly put pages together to make a book.  

I put a folded paper spine on the side opposite the folded side of the book pages. The spine is made from a 12” by 4” strip of butcher paper. I fold it lengthwise in the middle and then fold each side to the middle. It reinforces the book. I bind them with a binding machine using the combs pictured above. The books can be prepared ahead of time and then writing and pictures added to them as needed.

Here’s a sample of a book cover for a class book I use at the beginning of the year

Many times I’ll have the children make the illustrations for the book covers. They especially love creating art for the books. Don’t you just love first grade art? I would suggest laminating the covers if you plan on keeping them throughout the year.

Here’s a page from the inside of the book.

I use silhouettes of the students and when the book is opened, the silhouettes face each other. It appears as though the two children are talking to each other. The repetition is perfect for beginning first graders. They also quickly learn to read each other’s names.

I do keep the class books in our reading center all year long. At the end of the year, pages can be taken apart and given to students to take home. Or, I raffle them off, and the winner gets to take the whole book home. {They love the whole raffle idea.}

I also use binders and add pages to them. Here’s the one I will be using when we get back to school from winter break.

Graphics by FancyDog Studio and Sarah Cooley

I use the binders that have a plastic cover in front, so I can slip the book cover in. I will add the writing as students complete them. I help students edit their writing and rewrite before adding it to the books. Sometimes I type their stories before adding them to the binder. 

This writing activity will be a fun one, especially since it never snows where we live.

I hope I’ve given you some new ideas on creating class books with your class. I would love to hear about class books you’ve made with your class. I’d love for you to visit my BLOG for more teaching ideas and activities and FREEBIES, too!

Thank you so much, Crystal, for having me as a guest blogger today. I will be checking out the other teaching blogs that have joined the link party. I hope you all will join me.

Thank you Mona, for guest blogging for me. I love what you are doing with your class books! 

Be sure to head on over to Primary Pointe where I will be guest blogging.
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  1. When I taught kindergarten we made class books all the time, but now that I teach second I have done it at all! I love the idea and need to start doing that again. Thanks for the motivation!
    Second Grade is Out of This World!

  2. Love your snowman on Primary Pointe. I teach 3rd grade in Bermuda so no snow here either - that's why snowmen activities are so much fun :)

  3. Great guest post- These class books are great! I never would've thought to use binders, but have a ton around! The kids are going to love this, thanks!

    Covered in Glitter and Glue

  4. I love making class books- I don't do it often enough!

    ~Diving Into Learning