Two to three weeks
Working together to write and produce artwork, students use a community bulletin board to inform others about important social justice issues and to voice their opinions. Collaborating on the content gives students a deeper understanding of ways literacy and social action can be interconnected.
- Determine what kinds of nonfiction writing your students know.
- Explore nonfiction formats such as “how to” writing, “all about” or expert articles, persuasive essays, interviews and book reviews.
- Gather resources and examples of bulletin boards as models for students.
- Determine how to group bulletin board contributions. While the entire product can be assembled as a class, individual components can be produced individually, in pairs and in small groups.
- Adapt the sample rubric into a visual checklist for students. Refer to the rubric to define expectations and components of the community bulletin board before students begin working. Define expectations for collaboration to ensure equitable effort.
- Verbally introduce students to the preparatory steps included in the Do Something Planning Guide. Instruct them in the process of mapping the steps necessary to prepare a community bulletin board.
- Brainstorm topics that connect to central text.
- Talk to students about their intended audience. Determine the audience for the community newsletter (other classes, other grades, families, larger school community, outside community members, etc.).
- Instruct students to choose nonfiction-writing styles for their contributions.
- Direct students to plan and draft their art and written work. Allow time for feedback, revisions and finalization.
- Have students prepare decorations and illustrations that connect to bulletin board themes and topics.
- As a class, plan out how the bulletin board will be arranged.
- Assemble the bulletin board.
- Arrange an in-class “publishing party” for students during which the bulletin board is unveiled. Allow time for students to read one another’s work.
- For younger students who write mainly in invented spelling, post correctly spelled versions of the writing so others can read student’s ideas.
- Invite visitors to see and/or comment on bulletin board. Consider including:
- Other classes
- Other grades
- Members of greater school community
- Students can give each other feedback orally or on sticky notes during publishing party.
- Use the adapted rubric checklist to allow for students to use to self-assess their work.
English language learners
English language learners can benefit from this task by working cooperatively with others, practicing sharing their ideas orally and learning from others’ use of language. Including the layout components and including artwork to accompany the writing also provides English language learners with the opportunity to creatively express their ideas, opinions and knowledge. The learning modalities most focused on through this project are linguistic, spatial/artistic, and, if the project is done collaboratively, interpersonal.
Connection to anti-bias education
Sharing a community bulletin board and seeing it be read by others inspires students. This task demonstrates how student voices have the power to inform others to be more aware and even take action.