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One Earth Step Gently: 23 Ways You Can Help Our Planet

School: Grass Valley Charter School

City/State: Grass Valley, CA

Grade(s): 1, 2

Format(s): Book: Nonfiction/Informational

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Science and Technology, Visual Arts

Project Overview

First and second-grade students at Grass Valley Charter School in Grass Valley, CA created this book for younger readers as the culminating project for a year-long expedition on the earth. During this expedition, students collected data on the usage of different types of bags at local grocery stores. Then, incorporating their data, they wrote and presented letters to their county board of supervisors asking them to consider passing a ban on plastic bags in Nevada County. 

To create this book, each student selected a specific topic to focus on. After studying children’s book illustrators, including Eric Carle, and working with a guest artist on paper collage techniques, each student created an illustration for their individual page. The collage format allowed students to work through multiple drafts of their illustrations easily; they waited until the very end to glue down the pieces. 

The class decided to create their book for other students their age or younger, so they worked to edit their text down to the most vital information.  The students also carefully revised their text for grammar and punctuation.

The completed book was published using Shutterfly.  At the students’ request, a copy of the book was sent to Shim Shimmel, author of the book “Dear Children of the Earth,” which the students read during this expedition. 

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Highlights 1st and 2nd grade students working on writing and visual art skills through multiple drafts.
  • An example of a product with an authentic audience that serves a real purpose – teaching other students about protecting the environment.
  • The final product demonstrates the integration of scientific research, writing and visual art into a single, high-quality representation of their work.
  • The quality of the printing, and the ability to share their work with others is empowering for students.

Relevant Resources

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can write an opinion piece (about a book) with a clear topic, support for my opinion, and closure.
  • With support from adults, I can revise my writing by adding details.
  • I can participate in shared research projects.
  • With support from adults, I can answer questions about things I’ve done or learned about.
  • With support from adults, I can produce writing that is appropriate to task and purpose.
  • 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.
  • I can speak using words I hear in books.
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