I loved occasionally finding projects that allow the children to work cooperatively and complete together. I have found that they are much more successful in small groups – no more than 3 usually – or often one child sits out and doesn’t help much. The book I am picturing was 12 x 18 inches and I had about 5 children working on each page. In later years I made the books 9 x 12 and only had 2 -3 kids on each page – and we just made more copies of the book so every child was involved. I tried to make enough class books for each child to have one at the end of the year – so that helped out too.
I chose the text based on sight words we were working on at the time – large font, extra spaces!
We had done another project using shapes to make Pilgrims before we did this book – that gave the children an idea of how to start making them on their own.
Here are a few management ideas I used for this project. I carefully selected which children would work together. I walked around the room a lot encouraging the children to talk about what they were doing, and work together. I intervened if there was a problem – sometimes children made a piece too large and it covered other kids’ work, etc.
Then when the group decided their page was finished they had to all sign their name on the back, completely clean up their table and floor area, then the whole group would bring it to me. I would ring my bell for attention and “present” the page to the class saying “Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to present the page ‘ Come and see the turkeys.” Then the group would agree on a classroom cheer they wanted and they would go off to another activity while the rest of the groups finished.
All the class books we made were in a literacy basket for free choice reading, along with my sample copy of the books the children made and took home. Since I always make a book to model my directions, I had lots of copies to put out for children to read even after they took their own books home.