Daily Archives: October 23, 2014

All About Me Books: Power of Writing Your Story

IMG_3099In 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 IMG_3100students. 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 IMG_3145their 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.”IMG_3121

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.

IMG_3152All About Me Books

The creation of this book about you fulfills a number of purposes:

* it celebrates who you areIMG_3140

* 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 provides a good resource for you to use with your students as an artifact, a way of IMG_3138introducing you to your students, a good lesson to use with them and ….

* it allows you to come to understand first-hand the complexity of the IMG_3128composing and publishing processes and it allows you to consider how various literacy formats/genres can be used with students

* it introduces you to children’s books in another way

* it is fun


  1. Meaning

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 IMG_3119accessible 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.



IMG_3114The All About Me book must be:

* illustrated in some way (use your imagination and ingenuity here).

Any format is fine – text based, artifacts, digital …..IMG_3113

* durable for use in the classroom

* well planned

* well written (adhering to the convention of grammar and spelling)

IMG_3142Possible formats and genres for your book…IMG_3135


Accompanying Story on Tape Shape Books
Fairy tale, mystery, make believe Poetry Book
Banners Pop-up Books
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
Dioramas Flip Books
Graphic novel/story; Comic format Television Box
Newspaper Momento book
Series of memos Menu
Series of photographs with captions Counting book
I Book Poster
Prezi Powerpoint
Video Other ….. (e.g. rap, song)