In yesterday’s blog post, Lydia talked about the All About Me book celebration we had with the student teachers in our literacy methods courses. I (Clare) want to add my comments/reflections on the activity. The “assignment” is unusual in that it is ungraded (pass/fail), there is lots of choice, and the finished product is shared with all of the other students. It is not just me, the professor, who reads the assignment – all of the students have an opportunity to learn from their fellow students’ work. The sharing is a wonderful way for them to learn about their fellow students and to learn about many ways to tell a story. Initially, the students are bit resistant to the assignment commenting (complaining!) about it not being graded so why should they do it or that they are not creative so they cannot do it or they cannot see how doing a book about their life will help them learn to be a literacy teacher. The process of writing their books and sharing them transforms their views – they come to understand the power of story, the demands of the writing process, and the importance of audience. Many commented this was the best class they have had in their university studies. One student noted: “I recognize the courage and vulnerability it takes to showcase our own work and know that without a Professor who harnesses this safe environment we wouldn’t have become such a comfortable cohort in our short weeks at OISE.”
All wanted to know when we were going to do “something” like this again. You will notice in these photos that the students are truly happy and engaged. Like Lydia, I was impressed with their books – their creativity was astounding, the care they took with writing their books was impressive, and their ingenuity humbled me. I learned so much from them and feel so lucky to be teaching such fine individuals.
For the literacy teachers and literacy teacher educators who follow this blog we thought we would share the assignment description with you.
The creation of this book about you fulfills a number of purposes:
* it provides your colleagues with an opportunity to get to know you
* it celebrates the diversity of individuals in our class
* it allows your creativity to emerge and through exploration may prove new potential to you
* it introduces you to children’s books in another way
* it is fun
The All About Me text must communicate in some way who you are – it could be descriptive, autobiographic, a metaphor, …. but it must say, “This is me!” It is important to identify your intended audience; therefore, the book must match your intended audience. If, for example, you are writing it for young children, the pictures are very important and the text must be simple and accessible to them. If on the other hand, you are writing it for an audience of adolescents, the tone, structure and theme would be very different. Use a structure/format appropriate for the age group you choose as models.
* illustrated in some way (use your imagination and ingenuity here).
* durable for use in the classroom
* well planned
* well written (adhering to the convention of grammar and spelling)
|Accompanying Story on Tape||Shape Books|
|Fairy tale, mystery, make believe||Poetry Book|
|Shape Book||Wheel Book (using paper fasteners)|
|Accordion Book||Picture Books|
|ABC book||Books with Bookmarks|
|Books with Pictures and Clipart||Book in a box|
|Books with Photographs||Puppet Books|
|Characters from a Movie or Novel||Chart Books|
|Graphic novel/story; Comic format||Television Box|
|Series of memos||Menu|
|Series of photographs with captions||Counting book|
|Video||Other ….. (e.g. rap, song)|