Have you been mulling over the idea of creating a classbook with your students, but are unsure how to keep all of your students on track and excited about the project or maybe even where to start? The first step is ordering a free classbook publishing kit from Studentreasures. The materials in your kit include:
- 66 Kit Pages: 33 for Text & 33 for Illustration
- Cover, Title, Dedication and Author Page
- A Student-Created Sample Book
- Step-by-Step Teacher Guide
- Replacement Materials
- Parent Order Forms
These resources are all extremely helpful in getting started, but check out these additional tips to help you keep everyone on the same page!
Teacher Tips: How to Make a Class Book Project Fun and Keep Everyone on Track
Here is a list of tips to help keep everything organized and on track after your classbook kits arrive!
1. Agree On a Book Topic As a Class
Getting a group of students to agree on something doesn’t have to be challenging! When creating a classbook, you’ll want to put in the time to agree on a topic everyone will be excited about–and proud of. Here are a couple of different methods you can play around with for a productive brainstorming session.
Class Discussion Brainstorming Session
This is a laid back way to brainstorm and is best utilized with 3rd, 4th and 5th graders or small class sizes for lower grade levels. You can show students a few classbook ideas for inspiration before you get started.
During the book topic discussion, students may raise their hands, one at a time, and share their ideas. Be sure to write down all the topic ideas, set a time limit and enforce students to be respectful of one another and their creative ideas. You can also have students discuss topics in a small group and then share 2 or 3 ideas with the class.
For more detailed tips on how to keep class discussions and brainstorming sessions productive and under control, check out our post on pre-writing and brainstorming ideation for elementary students.
Classroom Poll Brainstorming Session
For classes that have a more difficult time taking turns speaking, have everyone write down their ideas and turn them in. You can then take all of the ideas and group similar ones together. Write these ideas down on the board and have your students put their heads down and raise their hands to vote for the topics they like. Continue to vote until you have 3-4 ideas left on the board.
You can now open these few ideas up for discussion. Students can share creative opinions or maybe even integrate and combine some of the topics to create a new, unique idea.
Ultimately, you know your class best. Come up with a brainstorming idea that will allow everyone to feel included and make sure everyone’s voice is heard.
2. Set Aside a Specific Time and Time Limit to Work on Classbook Pages
Time can getaway from you quickly in the classroom–especially when students are excited and participating.
Research shows that the more time students spend fully engaged in their work, they experience improved learning and produce higher quality work. Here are a few steps you can take to create that time for students:
- Set a time limit each day dedicated solely to working on the classbook pages, and stick to it.
- Limit distractions by scheduling classbook work time during a period with minimal distractions. Ideally, this is a time where there aren’t likely to be a lot of interruptions, such as announcements or visitors. We also suggest not scheduling this work time right before or after recess.
- Change things up. Allow students to move around the room and work on their classbook pages in different areas. Limiting your students to only working at their desks can sometimes cause them to lose interest in activities.
3. Encourage Students to Talk with a Partner About Their Ideas
Some of your students may have a difficult time developing their story or just want another perspective on their ideas.
It’s important to give your students what they need to complete their stories and encourage them to ask for help when they need it. Let them work with another student to help them gain confidence, find inspiration and move forward with their ideas. It is possible that they may even find a unique angle to take on their original idea.
Discussing ideas and challenges with a partner shows young students the importance of collaboration and that asking for help when you need it is a smart strategy to use to complete a project.
4. Make sure All Students are on Track to Finish Their Book Pages on Time
It’s time to start teaching your students about deadlines! They will thank you for this as they progress in their educational career and further into their professional life.
Set mini deadlines or “goals” to help students complete their classbook pages on time. For example: “We all will need to have our first drafts written by Friday.” Be sure to communicate clearly with your students about what expectations are, and give them plenty of reminders.
Some students may struggle with certain areas of the writing process, making it more difficult for them to complete things on time. You can either give these students a little extra attention or have them partner up with another student who is stronger at editing, brainstorming or whatever area they may be struggling with.
Once all of your students’ classbook pages are completed you can send everything in and your classbook will be bound and published!
5. Throw a Classbook Party to Celebrate
If you make it to this step, that means you’ve reached your goal. It’s time to celebrate! Your students are officially published authors. Show them how important this accomplishment is with a publishing party. You can make it as simple or as elaborate as you want - just make sure that you mention it throughout the project to keep enthusiasm up.
Whether you have a pizza party for the class, or allow students to bring in treats and snacks to share, just be sure to set aside some time to let students soak in this milestone. You can unveil the books and allow students to read them and discuss.
If you had a unique theme for your book, sometimes it can be fun to incorporate that into the party with costumes or decor relating to that theme. You can also have a book signing with students from the other classrooms or have your students sign autographs for each other and read their classbook page.
However you choose to go about it, just make sure your students feel special. This is a huge accomplishment!
Creating the Writers of Tomorrow
For more than 20 years, we have been providing free tools for nurturing and developing the authors of tomorrow. Our goal is for every child to experience the joy that comes from becoming a published author and build their confidence as creative writers and see their hard work come to life in a professionally bound book. Click here to order your free classbook publishing kit and head over to our Teacher’s Lounge for helpful, free resources to further inspire and guide your students along the publishing journey.