Keep your students engaged in learning with this end of school year book publishing project. This one is great for teaching the publishing process while bolstering self-esteem and self-awareness as they write about themselves.
This end of the year project entails making a class book that will be published via a self-publishing or print-on-demand company. The final project is a published book containing artwork, photography and text created by students. It will be a compilation of each student’s photos and description about how they have changed during the school year. It is recommended that the school provides one copy for each student from educational funds; additional copies for parents and grandparents can be purchased for a nominal fee. Because it is a print-on-demand book, you can order as many or a few as you desire and never have to deal with a surplus of books.
Students will explore both the process of making and publishing a book and engage in activities to increase self-awareness, build self-confidence and boost self-esteem.
- Two photos of each student: one from the beginning of the year and one at the end of the year.
- Note paper
- Writing instruments
- Template for book
- Computer and Scanner
1. Begin the project with a discussion about books and how they are made. Discuss the necessary parts of a book and the publishing process. Engage students in conversation about becoming authors and producing a class book together.
2. Introduce the topic of change and discuss ways everyone changes. This includes physical, emotional and cognitive changes. Discuss age-appropriate changes your students likely experienced during the year. For young elementary students this may focus on physical changes, such as growing taller, losing teeth, running faster or having longer or shorter hair. It may also in include moving to a new home, getting a new sibling or getting a pet. Encourage older students to include emotional or cognitive changes such as learning a new hobby, learning to speak another language or becoming part of a sports or academic team.
3. Provide students with time to write about their changes. You may need to function as a scribe for young children, but even early elementary students can write a few sentences. Monitor what children are writing and encourage them to write about positive changes. Use your regular writing process to edit student writing to produce a final draft of each student’s work.
4. Scan the photos and save them at 300 dpi.
5. Decide whether children’s writing will be scanned and produced in their handwriting or whether you will type the text. Scanning the original handwriting will add a personal touch, especially for small children whose writing will change; but typing the text may appeal to older students as it may appear more professional to them.
6. Prepare the text for the book. If you are using the original writing, scan it and save it as a PDF file.
7. Layout the book in the template. Middle school students can typically layout the text and photos in the template with some guidance from you; otherwise, plan time to layout the book for your students.
8. Submit the finished book and order a proof copy.
9. Task students to review the proof copy for any errors or for changes that need to be made. Middle school children can proofread for spelling and grammar errors or make suggestions for changes to the book.
10. Edit the template to correct any errors or to make necessary changes and resubmit the book.
11. Order the appropriate number of copies of the book. You should receive them within a week or two.
12. Have a book publishing party and invite parents and grandparents.
Additional Information and Resources for Teachers
There are several print-on-demand options available online. CreateSpace, Amazon’s self-publishing option, is easy-to-use, provides downloadable templates in many sizes and offers reasonable printing costs. Depending on the size of the book and the number of pages, printing costs typically range between $3.50 and $10.00 per book. There is no minimum purchase and there are no fees for self-publishing a book through CreateSpace. Other options include LULU, BookBaby and Blurb. Be sure to read the fine print before choosing a book-publishing option.