The Inspiring Excellence Series of six videos, approximately five minutes each, takes us behind the scenes in an extraordinary second grade urban classroom as students create a project of remarkable quality over the course of the year. As part of an interdisciplinary study of snakes, students created an interactive e-book about snakes with narrative informational writing, scientific illustrations, and accompanying music composed and played by student musicians.
Part 1 (above) is an overview of the project “Don’t Be Scared: The Truth About Snakes,” including Ron Berger’s thoughts on creating beautiful and complex work.
Part 2 shows Jenna Gampel's second graders building skills and motivation through a whole-class case study of a corn snake before undertaking independent research.
Part 3 shows how students apply their skills to independent research as they access increasingly complex texts.
Part 4 highlights students moving on to creating high-quality work through a process of using models, critique, and revision.
Part 5 shows the students getting ready to write the narrative nonfiction e-book as a vehicle for sharing their learning.
Part 6 is the final video of the series and we see the students refine their writing using story organizers and hone their presentation skills for the recording studio.