Family is one of the first topics that are covered during English lessons in the 1st class of primary school. Usually children are familiar with family members’ names, so I have an opportunity to extend this topic. I’m fond of offering my children potentially challenging tasks.
Writing a book?!
This time I said, ‘We are going to write a book’. The look on their faces – full of fear or bemusement – made me a bit amused but I had to have a poker face on 😉 I allowed myself to just watch them without saying a word… and then I added, ‘But first, we need to read a book’. Of course, I heard many comments like ‘Mrs Paulina, but we can’t read/write in Polish, how can we do it in English?’
So, I told them that they will be surprised by the end of the lesson.
A book as an inspiration
I asked kids to gather on the carpet and I presented a book. Well, it’s not a real book! I printed few pages from ESL Kids Stuff.com about the Monster Family. I showed it to my students and help them reading it. They described pictures using ‘This is…’ structure and we talked about colours and body parts. I had a feeling that the kids are proud of themselves that they were able to read a story (this was more of a global reading exercise). We did some guessing games based on the story and finally, I announced that it is time to become writers.
Let’s become writers! – with some support 😉
I divided my white board into 6 pieces. I wrote numbers on each piece, as if it is a book page. As a next step, I drew a monster in the middle and wrote ‘THIS IS MY FAMILY’ on the top of the page. I asked volunteers to come and help me making up the book on the board. Almost everyone in my class took a marker and write (copy from our coursebook) a word or help drawing characters. After 10 minutes, we had a great piece on the board. It was a cheat sheet for the kids how to create their own book.
The real writers – an extra task
I set an extra task only for volunteers – write your own book about any family. I advised students to use their coursebooks and workbooks for coping the words and structures. They did their best and I was genuinely surprised how many pupils decided to write a book! You can see some of their works below.
I didn’t correct any of the works. All the books were displayed in the school corridor in my English Corner 😊
I hope my project inspired you – you should give your students challenging tasks and watch how they achieve great successes. Let them feel proud of themselves.
Share some of your experience with writing projects with young learners in comments section below. Thank you! 😊