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The Important Thing About Our Families...

School: Alice B. Beal Elementary

City/State: Springfield, MO

Grade(s): 1

Format(s): Children's book

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Visual Arts

Project Overview

1st grade students from the Alice B. Beal Elementary School in Springfield, Massachusetts, created this children’s book during the first week of school, as the first project of the school year.

Each student composed a sentence that tells an important thing about his or her family. Each page includes the sentence, a digital photograph (taken by a classmate) of the author and the student’s name.

Working on this project set the stage for the rest of the school year: students got to know each other and they learned key academic skills such as how to write a sentence, how to use digital cameras and how to enter text via a computer keyboard.

The book has a page of Learning Targets that make clear exactly what students were asked to learn (and succeeded in learning) for this project (e.g. “I put a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence”). Although the book also serves a good community-building and adjustment to school purpose, these printed learning targets make clear that the project had explicit academic targets as well. Without this page, one could assume that the photography and typing was done for the students, rather than by the students.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Includes well-written Learning Targets for the project. Examples include, “I can word process a sentence” and “I put a period at the end of my sentence”
  • Shows an example of a first-week project that purposely lays the groundwork for the rest of the school year
  • A simple format that is engaging to look at and tells a story about the class as a whole
  • Highlights teaching young students the skills of keyboarding and digital photography

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • With support from adults, I can use digital tools to publish my writing.
  • I can use grammar conventions to send a clear message to a reader or listener.
  • I can use grammar conventions to send a clear message to a reader.
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