First and third grade students and Multi-age Intervention students at the Cardington-Lincoln Elementary School, took a big step in the world of writing and publishing when they published classroom books through Student Treasures Publishing Company.
Under the guidance of their teachers, these students experienced a realistic approach to an author’s journey of publishing a book. The two-month project was led by teachers Melissa Deems, Kathy Gardner, Diane Tucker and Ashley Volk, first grade; Patrina Elliott, Cindy Eyman, Dawn Ruehrmund and Janet Sedlacek, third grade and Melissa Hughes, Multi-Age Intervention.
Deems said, “We began our book during the fall when one of our students came in with a new book called “Snowmen at Work.” So we read it. That prompted us to read the other “Snowmen” books in the series. From there, we decided to write about what scarecrows might do during the night. That’s where we came up with our idea! From there we brain stormed about what our scarecrows might do and the students filled in an organizer. They used this to write sentences for a rough draft. I edited their stories and they copied them for a good copy. From the good copy, the students copied their story onto their final copy for the book. After all stories were copied, they drew their pictures in pencil and later went back to color their picture with colorful markers. They titled their book ‘Scarecrows at Night.” Everyone had a great time and did a wonderful job!”
Zoie Arthur commented, “I loved writing my story and doing my picture. It was super duper fun!” Owen Leath said, “I learned that writing stories is really fun!”
Kathy Gardner said “Our class book is called “Letters to Santa.”
“As the teacher I felt it was a great experience for my students to see the whole writing process from beginning to having their book published.” Her students’ comments ranged from “It was fun,” “I loved it,” “I wish I would have made a nicer picture now.”
“It was strange making a book that others will read, too.” Others said, “I wish we could do it every day,” I loved the pictures everyone made,” I felt like a rock star when it came back.”
Tucker said “Our class book is called “Ocean Friends.” We chose to write about ocean animals because our class wanted to learn about what animals lived in the ocean and what their basic needs are to survive in the ocean habitat. This topic enabled us to work on multiple standards in writing and science. Each student became the author and illustrator of their own page in the book. The process of researching, writing, editing, and presenting a finished product was a valuable experience for my first grade students.”
Her students commenting included Isaiah Nippert, who said ‘It was cool because people could see our book,” Madison Caulkins: “I learned about the animals, where it lives, where it hides, and what it eats,” McKale Reppart: “You have to have nice writing so the people can understand your writing,” and Holten Smith said, “It was fun because we got to write and make the pictures.”
Volk said “Our inspiration for “If You Give a Pirate A Gingerbread Cookie,” came from our love of Laura Numeroff books. We had been reading many of them.
We decided to create a Pirate, since we are the Pirates, and since we chose a gingerbread cookie. We then began writing our story by keeping a list of events.
Since this type of text is circular - where it comes around and starts all over again - we actually started by writing the first two and last two events. The kids gave me ideas and I wrote them down. We brain stormed situation ideas that would further the story. We then divided the parts of the story we wrote/illustrated each page. As a teacher, I was so proud of the ideas they were coming up with. One would give an idea and it would spark another idea from someone else.”
Lily Melvin was so excited to get started that she went home the night before and wrote her version of the story. Many of the ideas that made it into the final book were used! Lily said “I was so excited! I thought of writing some ideas down to make it special, so that we could come up with more ideas.” Sara Beckwith noted.
“All of it was my favorite part. I liked seeing what it takes to write a book.” Jon Miller noted “I thought writing the book was hard because you have to write the words and make the pictures. I think it turned out really good.”
Elliot, third grade teacher, said, “Our book was based on the “What are YOU so Grumpy About?” by Tom Lichtenheld. The book demonstrates how an author can convey how a character feels not only through words but by the size, shape, and ending marks in the text. This was a fun way to explore our own grumpiness and investigate the book making process at the same time.”
Eyman said “Our class read the book, “When I Was Young in the Mountains” by Cynthia Rylant. After reading the book, they wrote their own draft about one aspect of being young in Cardington. That draft was edited and then copied on a ‘clean copy’ paper. From there, they copied it onto the book page in pencil, then traced it with black ink. For their illustration, they drew a pencil first, then used markers over the drawing. Her students’ comments included ” It was cool because all of us got to do something in the book;” “I liked it because it was fun to do the writing,” “I thought it was great because we got to write, draw and color our own page,” “It was nice to be able to tell about our life in Cardington,” ” I liked to read about what other people in our class wrote.”
Ruehrmund said “Our class book is titled “Cardington, a Glimpse Back in Time.”
It was a non-fiction collection of facts from long ago about Cardington. How our town was named, when our first library was started, how we became ‘The Pirates,” and of course, the 1981 tornado, were just a few of the pages in our book. The kids had a great time researching and asking parents/grandparents if they had any interesting stories/facts about our town to share. Bradley West said “I learned that the fire department used to be in a different place. It used horses and looked really old.” Hailey Smith said “Cardington is named that because of the carding mill. I didn’t know what a carding mill was! Mrs. Ruehrmund brought wool for us to feel.”
“We had a great time making this book! I hope the students can look back and treasure it as a fun learning process from third grade,” said Ruehrmund.
Sedlacek said “The Superstars read “When I was Young in the Mountains,” by Cynthia Rylant. They wrote their own version of “When I was Young at Cardington-Lincoln Elementary.” The book starts with kindergarten memories and works its way to third grade memories. Dalton Edwards stated “It was pretty cool to be able to get our book published, it makes you feel good. It is awesome for others to be able to read it.’ Nevach Richardson stated “It was hard work but it was fun to do with the whole class.”
Hughes stated “My students worked together as a class to brainstorm our thoughts on what it means to be a good pirate. We made a list of 18 ways we can be a good pirate focusing on character education traits. The students drew their own illustrations and I included a note explaining the reason behind our book. There is also a copy of the pirate pledge we recite every morning to remind us of what it means to be a pirate. A few student comments include: “My favorite part was drawing the pictures,” by Preston; “My favorite part was coming up with the title for our book, by Dillon and Travis said “My favorite part was brainstorming for ideas.”