For a culminating activity, each student will write, design and illustrate his or her own children's storybook, focusing on the topics of exclusion and being different. Ideally students will complete these storybooks in time to take them to an elementary school where they can read their own stories to children.
Students may, at first, resist this activity, insecure that they are capable of such an undertaking. However, as more and more of them begin the process, it is exhilarating to watch them "get into it" and discover that, indeed, they are creative. As this activity unfolds, ownership and self-esteem grow. The biggest problem becomes, giving them all the time they want to complete the project.
This activity is highly structured, including designing a "story board" on which they account for every pair of pages in their book, as part of the planning process. On the storyboard, students lay out the sentences, including dialogue that will appear on each page of the book. It is at this stage that students plan and sketch out the illustrations they have in mind for their story. By this time in the unit, students will have read many children's books and have lots of ideas about story lines and illustrations for their own stories.
Some students may choose to illustrate their stories with clip art from computer programs or magazines, if they are insecure about drawing. Others will discover that they have a talent for drawing. For some students who love to draw, this will be an opportunity for them to excel. Some may collaborate with one another. Each student is expected to turn out a book. This final project fosters pride and ownership.
Just as in actual commercially published books, students will write their own brief biography to go inside the cover, along with a small photo of themselves. Students may choose to dedicate their book to a parent, a sibling, their own child, or someone else.
The Young Author's Do - It - Yourself Book
listed in the bibliography provides the step-by-step procedure, including the use of a storyboard, and it explains in detail how the pages of the book are assembled so that they actually feel and hang together as a book. It works!