First Come the Eggs, a picture book for young readers, was created by 3rd grade students (begun when they were 2nd graders) from the Genesee Community Charter School in Rochester, New York. This book details a biography of Seth Green, the father of fish hatcheries in America, and was part of a 12-week Learning Expedition. The expedition included the study of the life cycle of salmon and trout and the Genesee River biome, testing of water quality, and raising salmon fry in the classroom for restocking of local habitats.
Students studied the life of Seth Green, who in the early 1800s pioneered the use of fish hatcheries. Information for the book was collected through fieldwork research (trips to local museums, work with local scientists, historians, and other experts, and visits to where Seth Green lived and worked) and through a book used as an anchor text - Seth Green: Father of Fish Culture.
First Come the Eggs includes paintings, text, a glossary, additional scientific and cultural information and an author’s paragraph on each student.
Students took the information they collected and created text and water color paintings to recount the life of Seth Green. Students worked with classroom and art teachers to decide upon important images for the book and to work carefully on color, line, shape, and texture. Each painting is accompanied by a caption.
This book was produced and glue-bound at the school. It is approximately 8 ¾ by 6 ½ inches. It was sold at the Caledonia Fish Hatchery and the school’s website; proceeds went to the school and to the Rochester Museum and Science Center. This book, and many others like it, are available for purchase on the schools’ website.
This project was featured in an exhibit at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2010 featuring exemplary student work, Books for Kids, by Kids.
How This Project Can Be Useful
- An elegant format and layout which combines striking student paintings with simple lines of text. Appealing and informative for multiple age groups.
- Paintings have vibrant color and expressive brush strokes that allow them to function both as compelling stand-alone artwork and also as useful illustrations: the paintings convey biographical information about their subject. See pages 28 and 42.
- Text is simple, yet carefully written. See page 21 and 51.
- Highlights the power of revision and critique for 2nd/3rd graders.
- Demonstrates a format with an authentic audience and that fills an identifiable community need.
Common Core State Standards
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