ABC Books Aren't for Babies!
Looking for some inspiration for an activity that will engage students -- from
kindergarten to college -- while they learn? Why not challenge students to create their
own ABC books?
Included: More than 200 ABC book ideas -- spanning the grades and
ABC books aren't just for babies! Kids across the grades are getting in on the act. First
graders in Loogootee, Indiana, searched the Net for great sites for each letter of the alphabet.
First graders in Wiscasset, Maine, created the
Morris Farm Alphabet Book
. Fifth graders in
The Alaska Railroad from A to Z
. Even high schoolers could get in on the act!
Why not have your biology class create an ABCs of Biology. A is for amoeba, B is for biome,
C is for crustacean .
This week, in honor of the anniversary of the birth of Noah Webster -- the father of the
American dictionary, Education World offers an ABC of possible ABC books that students
across the grades might create. Pick one from the list and let your students create their own
books. Or divide students into groups to work on a book. Or let each student explore a topic
of choice .
AN ABC OF ENDANGERED SPECIES
Teacher Laura Toffenetti challenged each of her fourth graders at the Dorothy C. Goodwin
School in Storrs, Connecticut, to create an ABC book of endangered animals. The task was
easier than might be expected because, as the students were amazed to learn, the world has
more than 6,000 species that are "endangered" due to loss of habitat, poaching, and
"Students used a variety of resources to research the animals," says Toffenetti. "Each page
had to include at least four facts about the animal, a map showing where the animal lives,
and a picture."
"We spent some time learning how to lay out a page in an effective way," adds Toffenetti.
"We also had some mini drawing lessons to help them capture the animals' likenesses."
At the end of the project Toffenetti decided to create a kind-of "best of" ABC book. You can
see the results of this
Endangered Species Project
on the school's Web site. The book opens
with Jessica's picture and story about the American bison, Joy's introduction to the blue
macaw, and Billy's account of the plight of the cuckoo. Twenty-three letters later, Emily closes
the book with the sad facts about the Grevy's zebra.
The project so excited Toffenetti's students that at the end of the school year, when the kids
were feeling a little sad about leaving their comfortable elementary school for the unfamiliarity
of middle school, the kids made another ABC book -- this one a Memory Book. "As a class
we brainstormed all the things we had done all year and then connected the events to a letter
of the alphabet," says Toffenetti. "Each student wrote and illustrated their letter and then we
all got a copy of the book. It was a great keepsake."
Toffenetti has also done the ABC book project with second graders. "After looking at
ABC books, the students each chose a topic," says Toffenetti. "They were allowed to work