Great Books for Any Grade Level
Having each student contribute a favorite family recipe is a unique way for them to share their unique culture and traditions. Children write their unique recipe on one page and illustrate it on the other. Our recipe book template also encourages them to write a paragraph about what makes this dish special in their family. As such, this project has educational value in language arts, visual arts and social studies. It’s also a fun enrichment activity: children can make their dish at home and present it during a special class party! The final book is a useful collection of recipes moms will love.
Collection of Poems
Student-written poems are a perfect fit for Classroom Books. The illustration part of the project will encourage children to dig deeper in their vocabulary and find vivid images and metaphors. To encourage sensory poems, try reversing the process. Having children create an illustration in art class and then a poem inspired by their illustration. Explore one style of poetry or let each child choose from poetry conventions taught in class (sensory poems, acrostic, cinquain, haiku…). Either way, you will be amazed by what the students come up with and the quality of the work!
Collection of Short Stories
Encourage your students to go above and beyond by publishing their personal narrative essay or any other type of narrative fiction assignment. The final book will be a collection of one-page short stories with illustrations that each child can read aloud to the class during your book signing party!
Great Books for Elementary
Why is the Declaration of Independence important? The class is divided into four groups. Each group focuses on one of the following statements:
- All Men Are Created Equal
- Right to Life
- Right to Liberty
- Right to the Pursuit of Happiness
Each student must then illustrate the statement assigned with words and drawings. The final book, organized into four sections, is a celebration of our basic rights.
The Time Travel Book
Each student writes a creative one-page essay about how they envision their lives in 20 years: Who will they be? What will they do? What will be different? What will be the same? They then illustrate their personal essay by drawing themselves at 30 or the futuristic world they foresee. This is a fun project that allows students graduating from elementary to think about their long-term goals and dreams.
Around the World Book
As part as a lesson on character traits, the entire classroom participates in creating a great character through class discussions. The character can be a human, but also an animal, sport mascot or even an imaginary creature or object. Once the class has their character down, it begins to travel! As a geography assignment, each student is assigned a country to research, then writes a one-page essay on the visit the classroom character has in that country (what they see, what they do, what they taste). Students also illustrate, drawing their character in the landscape and setting of the country. The essay always ends with the character flying off to the new country. The project can be adapted to the United States with the character going from State to State. The final book reads like a fun travel diary full of interesting facts about the visited country.
Poems from Fourth Grade
Guide students to write their own vivid poems (for inspiration, check out the Six Room Poem template, a great lesson plan for poetry writing). Each student creates an illustration for their poem. The final book is a collection of beautiful sensory poems and images.
The Book of Moments
Students write about a defining moment in their life, answering questions like, “how were you before the experience and how did it change you?” They then draw an illustration of that experience. The final book is a powerful collection of life-changing moments and images.
Great Figures from Fourth Grade
Each child studies a great figure from history, then writes about the life of the historical figure and why they picked them. They may also add quotes or a timeline.
Students then draw their figure or their accomplishments (for example, an illustration for the Wright Brothers may be an airplane). The final book can be assembled by themes or chronologically. Either way, it’s a meaningful collection of influential figures who shaped history.
The Artist in Us
Each child studies a visual artist of their choice, then creates an illustration in the style of that artist. On the opposite page, they explain who the artist was, why they picked them and what their style is. They also describe their illustration and the inspiration for it. The final book is both informative and a beautiful look into the influence of the artist on each student’s own creativity and imagination.
Our Thanksgiving Book
While making this book, children explore a different format – letter writing. The students write thank you letters either to a person they’re thankful for, or for something they want to give thanks for. A drawn picture relating to their letter is included. This can be aligned with the Thanksgiving Holiday or when it fits into the teacher’s agenda. Either way, it’s a great way for every student to “fill their bucket” with gratefulness and optimism. The final book is a beautiful celebration of all the things the class can be thankful for.
Best 3rd Grade Short Stories
The teacher reads and discusses a short story, then guides the students into writing their own one-page narrative. The finished publication is a collection of the class’ short stories centered around one of third grade’s universal themes with a matching illustration. The book title can represent that theme.
You Are My Hero
Students are encouraged to ask a list of questions to a person they view as a hero in their lives. After the interview, each child writes a paragraph explaining why the person they chose is their hero. They also write their favorite quote from what their hero said during the interview, highlighting that person’s essence and words of wisdom (the quotes can be written in color, larger print cursives for maximum effect). The accompanying drawing illustrates how a hero shines. At the center of the page, the student draws or pastes a picture of their hero. Using the sun template supplied, students then color each ray of sunshine extending from their hero a different color, adding a descriptive adjective inside each ray (a list of descriptive adjectives can be provided as inspiration). The final book is a beautiful homage to family and community heroes in the children’s lives.
Secret Dictionary of Second Graders
This is a great tie in project with Common Core Standard L.2.4d (Use knowledge of the meaning of individual words to predict the meaning of compound words). Students get in groups to guess the meaning of existing compound words, then start drafting new words that inspire their creativity. Each student then chooses one invented word to present and illustrate. The written part of the project must present the word as it would be in the dictionary, with roots, a definition and use in a sentence. The illustration can be of the newly-coined compound word or the sentence. This is a fun way to learn vocabulary and understand how words are formed. The final book can be presented like a dictionary, with each student assigned a different letter of the alphabet to create their unique compound word.
Poems from Second Grade
A class poem book with accompanying illustrations using any of the poetry conventions taught in class (Sensory poems, acrostic, cinquain, haiku). The poems can either focus on one convention or give students a choice of which they want to use for their poems.
The Time Machine Book
Students interview grandparents, parents or aunts and uncles about how things have changed over time. [What did you do for fun at recess? What games did you play? How have things changed and how have they stayed the same over time?] Students focus on one answer and write it out, along with an illustration or a portrait of the interviewee. The final Time Machine Book is a collection of stories of how things were. Extra copies make a great gift for Grandparents Day, an addition to the school library, or a donation to the local historical society.
All About Me
This is an excellent way to get to know your students and assess their writing ability as they learn about each other. Print our template where students can answer questions about favorites and what makes them special, then have each child draw a self-portrait. The final All About Me Book features two pages per student, making it a “classroom yearbook” like no other! Once the students receive their books, consider having a book signing party where students can read the book aloud and compare and contrast how different students in the class are similar and unique (Common Core Standard RI.9). Template available with kit download.
We Are Special
Students answer the question, “What makes me special?” Using prompts [What can you do? What do you like? What are your interests?], each child describes what makes them unique. The final book is a celebration of children’s differences.
My Best Day of Kindergarten
Students work from a template to write three simple sentences about their first day or their best day of Kindergarten, then draw a picture of that special day. Use writing prompts like “That day I felt…” or “It made me want to…”. The final Classroom Book is a beautiful memento of the class’ first year of school.
My Alphabet Book
Students are each assigned a letter from the alphabet and must bring to class one thing that is meaningful to them that starts with that letter (if it can’t be brought in the class, like a pet, children can bring a picture instead). Each child then presents their special item to the class during “Show and Tell”. Afterwards, everyone draws a picture and creates a simple sentence about their special thing (for example, “B like the special Bear Ella likes to hug.”) The sentences and drawings are all compiled into a unique classroom Alphabet Book.
The Friendship Book
Students explore a time when they solved a problem with a friend. They use drawings and simple sentences to describe what happened in the beginning, middle and end. Using their worksheet, students explore the impact relationships have in through class discussions, then use the final template to write their three sentence story and illustration. The final Friendship Book is a collection of all these moments – a celebration of friends! Full lesson plan and template available here.
Great Books for Middle School
Plot It Out Book
Students write a one-page short story. On the opposite page he or she draws five pictures, one for each of the five stages of plot with a one sentence description for each panel.
From Cover to Cover Book
Students write a one-page book report including a summary, author, title, main theme, and personal response. They draw a reimaging of the book cover illustrating one of their favorite scenes from the book. Underneath the picture is a line from the book concerning the scene.
Change Begins Here Book
Students write a persuasive essay concerning an issue at their school that they would like to improve. An accompanying drawing would be an advertisement to get other students to vote for their topic if the issue were to come up in a student referendum.
The Movie of Our Lives Book
Students write an autobiographical narrative about a defining moment in their lives. As if preparing to have their life story made into a movie, they draw a four panel storyboard. Under each panel, students write a line of dialogue, narration, or music/sound effects of the scene depicted.
Our Future Selves Book
Students write an essay comparing and contrasting two potential future careers they are exploring. Have the student sketch what their life would look like in each of those chosen professions.
Warriors for Change Book
Student write a cause and effect essay concerning a social justice issue. They trace the causes that led to the current situation and draw a picture of what a desired outcome will look like.
Character Sketch Book
Students create a self-portrait using the style of a specific artist. From the self-portrait, students write a character sketch based on the drawing they created.
Foods We Love Sonnets Book
Students write an Elizabethan sonnet using the conventions of a sonnet (quatrains, rhyme scheme, iambic pentameter…) centered around the theme of my favorite food. They then illustrate their classroom book of sonnets to form a collection of Foods We Love poems. “If music be the food of love…Let’s eat!”
Students write an eye-witness report of a significant event that happened in their lives, listing the who, what, when, where and why the event happened. A drawing accompanies the journalistic style description.