Each day, I begin my ELA class with Reading Time. This is a time for students to access a range of texts. I use this time to conference with students, collect data on class patterns and trends with independent reading and to provide individualized support.
After students have worked on their writing piece in which they personified a quality based on the main character of their summer reading book, the next step is to work on the project itself. Students will create a paper bag book. This book will include their writing piece as well as the six pieces of evidence from the book that supports their claim about their character. These types of projects are great to use in the beginning of the year. Students enjoy when they have some creative freedom and this project definitely allows for that. The focus isn't just on the writing so those that are anxious about writing, are more engaged in the entire process.
I begin today's work by passing out the Bag Book Directions to the class. This handout outlines the different steps and materials that students will need to create the book. The will need card stock, lunch bags, glue, scissors, and a ruler. Once students finished making the book they can also use other supplies.
There are many ways for students to create the book. Some classes are capable to create the entire book on their own once directions are reviewed. Other students may need assistance since there are multiple steps. You can take students throughout the process as a class by working on each step together. All students will work on the same step at the same time. While this can be tedious for seem, it does allow for everyone to be on the same page.
I do show students my own project so they can conceptually see what they will be doing. Since there are many steps, students need to an example so they can visualize what it will look like. This Bag Book Teacher Example video shows my own project. Even though I used The Sissy Duckling, students will be using their summer reading book. The first few times I had to make sure I understand the directions myself so completing a bag book first it is very helpful.
The rest of class is devoted to working on the project itself. This project will definitely take students a few days to complete so the decision needs to be made how much time is enough to devote in class. One way to gauge that is the amount of help that is needed from the teacher. In the beginning, students will need assistance as they are working on it. Once students are able to work independently and they only thing left that's needed is time, then you can decide to have students complete this at home. I tell students that the more they work in class, the less they will have to do at home and this motivates them to do as much as possible in class.
For the rest of class, and occasionally for a second class period, I tell students they will have the entire class period to work on this project. I remind them of my expectations for productivity, which is that they remain focused and on task, and I also remind them of the supplies they need. I encourage students to make sure that everything is cut out first before they start gluing. This helps students to avoid making mistakes with a project like this.
This shows some examples of student work for their projects: Bag Book Student Examples.
As students are working, I circulate around the classroom to make sure students on task. This is a lesson where there is a little bit of chaos in the room. Students are either looking through their summer reading book for examples, writing their piece, creating their bag book, cutting paper, decorating the book. Be mindful of what is happening in the classroom. As I circulate I try and quickly stop at each student to make sure they are on task and working.