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Book Trading Cards

School: Shutesbury Elementary School

City/State: Shutesbury, MA

Grade(s): 5, 6

Format(s): Trading card

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Visual Arts

Project Overview

This collection of trading cards was created by 5th and 6th graders at Shutesbury Elementary School in Shutesbury, Massachusetts, as part of a choice-based fictional reading project.

Each student selected a fiction book that he or she wanted to read and then created a set of cards based on the characters in the book. On the front of each card is a picture of a character – on the back is a concise, compelling character description for the character.

To maximize student engagement and connection with their hobbies collecting trading cards with other topics, the finished cards are standard trading card size. This allows students to purchase and use all the standard products created to display sports cards (notebooks, card protectors, card displays). The character portraits and typed character descriptions were originally produced by students at a large proportionate scale, and then reduced on a photocopy machine to the miniature size required, before coloring.

This format allows students to tangibly see how many characters, and the relationships between those characters, an author uses within a book.

The cards in this selection are from three different student’s work: four from one student and one each from two other students.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Exemplifies a product format that is appealing to elementary students – size and concept are fun - that can be used in almost any subject
  • Shows a product that can be used in multiple ways. For example, cards can be laid out and arranged to show relationships between the characters
  • A means for learning how to write a good character description
  • Format is simple, but requires detailed work by students
  • Allows for individual assessment
  • See the series of four cards created about the characters in Celou Sudden Shout. The student created an artistic theme for the front of each card based on the cover of the book
  • Demonstrates engaging writing by elementary students

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can summarize a literary text.
  • I can compare and contrast literary elements using details from the text (two or more characters' points of view, settings, events).
  • I can produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • I can choose evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection and research.
  • I can use grammar conventions to send a clear message to a reader or listener.
  • I can use my knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
  • I can produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
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