Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Construction Book's Next Chapter

Wow, it sure takes a long time to write and illustrate a book. That's what Ms. Murphy's second graders are learning.

If you remember from past posts, the class is collaborating on a book about what construction workers do and how they stay safe. The kids did the same kind of research that grownup writers do. They observed the workers doing their jobs and took notes. Then they interviewed two experts--Mike Moore and John O'Toole--who came to their classroom.

Before that visit, the students thought about important things they should know about the topic. They each asked a question and did their best to write down the information they heard. Later Ms. Murphy put them in teams of two, to work together writing up the answers. Then they handing in their papers and Ms. Murphy typed them up.

But now the kids are learning that just because something looks neat and tidy doesn't mean that it is done. They call it a "rough draft" for good reason.

Professional writers hand in their manuscripts to editors at publishing companies. These editors are sort of like teachers. They read the text and give suggestions about how to make it better. Ms. Murphy did this too. Here is an example of a page of the book and Ms. Murphy's ideas (IN CAPITAL LETTERS) of what needs to be done. Hey kids, it happens to every writer--improving your work is just part of the job.

Of course, books need pictures and unlike some professional writers the kids are illustrating their book themselves. Printing in color is expensive for any publishing company so the kids are doing line drawings. Here is a preview of some of their work:

This picture shows an iron worker "tying off," attaching a safety strap onto the steel. That way, if they slip off the building they don't fall all the way to the ground.

This drawing compares the construction workers to a colony of ants. For one thing, both are always very busy. For another, they both have members who all work at different jobs to make one thing a success.

Cool idea, kids!