Through Big W Photo Books service! (Australian department store).
Student authored informational texts are a great activity for getting students to write for an authentic purpose. For the past few weeks, the year 4 class I have been supporting has been hard at work on a book about the local community. These students have been highly engaged and are very proud of their work. They are buzzing with excitement to see the finished product. I cannot wait to show them what it looks like!
So how was this implemented?
First, students were introduced to the informational text structure. They were given example texts to read, to identify the structure and features.
The task was then explained to them; they needed to write an information text about the local community for the year 1 and year 2 students. Once the task was explained, the students had to brainstorm and research what services to include in the book. Students then chose what service they would like to cover.
The class jointly constructed the section about the local museum. This was an important step as it gave them practice for writing their own section.
Students then researched their selected service and wrote a piece complete with pictures. This class was very enthusiastic about it, they did some research at home and then posted their work on Edmodo. This made the whole process go a lot faster than if it was done purely at school. I also liked how they would comment on each others' work :D
The work was then edited and then I took their work and inserted it into the online photo book software. It was a bit of a tedious task in terms of positioning the text and making sure everything was coordinated, especially when the website was down and I thought I had lost everything! But the excitement and enthusiasm of the students made it worth it. I completed it on Thursday and according to the website, it is ready to ship! So fingers crossed it comes in sometime this week. They worked very hard on it so of course I want them to see their finished product by the end of the year.
I would definitely do this again. I feel that the authentic purpose boosted student engagement as they were excited to produce an actual book that would be read to other classes within the school. If it were just a piece of work that would sit in their writing book, it wouldn't have been as exciting.
Obviously printing photo books would be quite expensive to do on a regular basis, so to combat this, you could easily whip one up using Microsoft Office or even Photoshop and print it yourself at home. Most schools should have a binding machine in the photocopy room, so you could bind it there. Laminate the pages for durability. Alternatively, you could use a display folder.
For my American readers, I believe you can use the photo books service at Staples - yes, I did actually Google this so you wouldn't be left out :P
I am also working on another school book. A book of poems about the school. It is coming along quite nicely. I have the cover done and quite a few of the poems are typed up. This one is being published at the school, so it has been a lot easier, as I am using good old PowerPoint to create it. I cannot wait until this one is finished as well.
Enjoy what's left of your weekend!