Ann Urie teaches first grade at Lenz Elementary in Reno, Nevada. She created this lesson while attending the Northern Nevada Writing Project's "Art & Writing Projects" inservice class for teachers. She also keeps an online portfolio of some of her lessons here at WritingFix.
Nice Mice Advice: Meet the Author!
This writing and art project was written by Northern Nevada teacher Ann Urie during the NNWP's inservice class on Art & Writing Projects. Ann is a first grade teacher in Northern Nevada who keeps an online portfolio of her lessons at WritingFix.
This page contains both the writing portion and the art portion of this two-part lesson.
Ann's Lesson Introduction:
Can you imagine your life without books? Which books have had a profound influence on your life? Consider a favorite book. What makes it so special to you? With all of the technology available today, there is a concern that books will become obsolete at a point in the future. It is my belief that our world is so visual with words and images co-existing to create heightened meaning for us, and as a primary teacher, I depend on the power of picture books in my classroom each day.
As Alice pondered in Alice in Wonderland, “Why would you want to read a book without any pictures?"
According to Paul Johnson in Literacy through the Book Arts,“The book art concept is not yet another new subject to be squeezed into the curriculum: it is the most effective way of processing the whole curriculum!” So much of children’s learning comes from exposure to the book form, it should follow that they can also process learning by making their own books. For kids, knowing how a book is made can help them with their initial intentions for writing and what they really want to accomplish. It gives them meaning and motivation. It is necessary to use critical thinking skills to decide what is to be put in, and what is to be left out.
After reading the book Library Mouse to your students, ask the question, “What does Sam do to encourage people to write their own stories?” Suggest that the class follows Sam’s suggestion and make their own books using a template that will make what's called an "Accord ian book."
Depending on the time of year or the unit of study you are working on, the Accord ian books work with most any type of writing. To teach students how to make their first Accord ian book, I suggest you have them generate some text that impersonates The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. Below is a picture of a wider-than-normal sized Accord ian book with a student's Important Book-inspired writing. This amount of text also works on thinner and longer Accord ian books like the one shown at the very top of this page.
The samples that I will share below (coming soon!) are the Accord ian books we made for Mother’s Day (inspired by Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood) and an original Father’s Day book template (coming soon).
In my class--inspired by Library Mouse and its sequels--we have a mouse theme. First graders love to write small Accord ian books about mice. If you would like to stay on the mouse theme, there are many mice-friendly books that will inspire original stories. Here are some three favorites:
Accord ian books can certainly be created without a mentor text inspiration too. When a child has been given a blank book and is allowed to create something on their own, they make some pretty remarkable stories.
Publishing Like Library Mouse
Your kids will love it if you take an empty tissue box with a pair of pencils taped to the side and a banner stretched across the top reading, “Meet the Author” with a mirror underneath. They can stand in front of this prop and share their stories out loud to each other!
For younger children, I sometimes fold the books for them ahead of time.
Also, it is possible to have them use a graphic organizer or a “practice book” depending on how polished you would like your final project to be.
For those who may have a difficult time writing without lines, I lightly pencil in lines for them to use
We're Seeking Photographed Student Samples:
Teachers: We're looking for photographed student samples for this lesson that we can feature here. Do you have a revised and edited sample to share? Take a photo of the final product, and send attachments to us at email@example.com. Please write "Nice Mice Advice" in your e-mail's subject line. If we publish your sample here, we will send you a complimentary copy of one of the NNWP's Print Publications for your classroom.