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Stand Up! Speak Out!

School: Conservatory Lab Charter School

City/State: Brighton, MA

Grade(s): 5

Format(s): Book: Nonfiction/Informational

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Social Studies, Visual Arts

Project Overview

Stand Up! Speak Out! was written and illustrated by 5th grade students at Conservatory Lab Charter School in Brighton, MA. 

Student created this project during an expedition on leadership. To start, students considered the guiding question “What makes a good leader?” and conducted a school-wide survey to gather diverse opinions.  Following their survey, students selected a leader from history to research.  Based on their findings, they wrote a speech in their selected leaders voice, conveying his or her dreams and accomplishments.

To complement their speech, students worked with an expert from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to create a conceptual portrait representing their leader. To create their illustration, they first brainstormed words and images to signify their leader, and then rendered their portrait in watercolor pencil. The students explain the ideas behind their work in the final pages of their book. 

Throughout this expedition, students reflected on the ways that they are leaders in their school, family and community.  At Conservatory Lab, 5th grade students work with younger students as reading buddies and as peer mentors in the music program.  Several students write about this practice in their personal reflections and the power of it is evident. 

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Compelling combination of writing, quotes, portraiture and student reflection
  • Demonstrates a format in which individual work can be assessed
  • The product is nicely formatted, with thoughtful, professional-quality layout that combines text and graphics
  • The theme of leadership is incorporated into the project as an academic subject and encouraged both in and outside of the classroom
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