“Give me a blue thumbs-up if you’re ready to share,” instructed Class 1 Head Teacher Kathleen Mann as her excited group – half of the full class – gathered their projects and settled down in front of their computers one recent Thursday.
After Ms. Mann spotlighted them, the students took turns confidently talking about their brand-new non-fiction books, which were created on large sheets of paper using a pre-printed template. Although meeting remotely, the exhilaration was palpable.
Down the “hall” in co-teacher Vanity David’s breakout room, a similar scene unfolded. “Who wants to go first?” Ms. David asked her students, reminding them to hold up their colorful covers and read their introductions and biography pages in clear voices.
The culmination of a weeks-long undertaking for all three sections of Class 1, this hands-on unit offered the imaginative scholars the opportunity to bring to life a topic of their choosing through captivating content and confidence-building oral presentations.
Demonstrating both considerable expertise and boundless enthusiasm, they celebrated subjects from sports to animals to favorite hobbies. Diagrams, “how-tos” and tables of content further enhanced their 12-page manuscripts.
After they recited the “About the Author” pages, which included fun facts like age, nickname, siblings and pets, the students launched into compelling pitches for their unique publications.
“Read my book to find out more about gymnastics!” one author declared, a broad smile on her face. “Have you ever traveled?” asked another, lifting her transportive cover aloft. “If you want to see what you need to ice skate,” suggested a third, “look inside this book!”
No matter the topic tackled, their knowledge and passion were undeniable. For her book about gardening, a student asked, “Have you ever tried vegetables? You don’t have to buy them. You can grow your own!” For an “All About Harry Potter” publication, the author stated enticingly, “If you like magic and excitement, you should read this book!” Simply called “Art! Art!” another book hinted at what awaited readers: “Watch out for page seven!” she cheerfully advised.
The students applauded after each presentation, remembering to unmute themselves first. Then they were invited to positively reflect on their classmates’ work by “giving a compliment or asking a question,” Ms. David noted.
From the looks of their digital faces, the presenters and audience members appeared to thoroughly enjoy this animated and enlightening morning. Before this class wrapped up, Ms. David had one more question: “What was your favorite part of this project? Who wants to share?”
Once again, several thumbs-up icons popped up. “I liked writing my author page,” commented one student. “My favorite part was drawing the pictures. I also liked thinking of new ideas,” her classmate added.
The Class 1 teachers were equally pleased with their students’ efforts. “You must feel so proud, excited and happy,” remarked Ms. Mann, clearly exhibiting these sentiments herself. “You have your very own non-fiction book!”
And with these words, the Class 1 writers in the three sections, their expert masterpieces safely put away, stood up from their screens and got ready for a well-deserved break.