Welcome to Our Classroom

By Shannon Lewis, December 4, 2009

Grade Level

  • Elementary School

Category

  • Architecture

Subject Area

  • Language Arts

Lesson Time

180 to 225 minutes for classroom activities

Introduction

I work at a school that has a transient student population.  It is very common for several students to join our classroom after the first weeks in school when classroom routines, rules and procedures have alreadu been introduced and reinforced.  Usually the students and I help the students and their families to acclimate themselves into our classroom culture through modeling, explaining and answering questions when they come up. A “new student brochure” would be very helpful to the new student and myself. It would give the student and his/her family important information about our classroom.

The design process will aid in developing student-writing skills and produce a product that will serve the purpose of informing new students and families about how our classroom works. Using the design process of a clear problem, brainstorming, creating, and presenting will allow students to create an original brochure, that is purposeful and authentic.

National Standards

Writing
Standard 1. Level II.  Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process 1. Prewriting:  Uses prewriting strategies to plan written work (e.g., elaborates on a central idea, writes with attention to audience, word choice, word variation; organizes information according to type and purpose of writing) 2. Drafting and Revising: Uses strategies to draft and revise written work (e.g., elaborate on a certain idea, write with attention to audience, word choice, sentence variation; uses paragraphs to develop separate ideas, produces multiple drafts, selects punctuation for effect.) 3. Editing and Publishing: Uses strategies to draft and revise written work (e.g., edits for grammar, punctuation, capitalization  and spelling at a developmentally appropriate level, uses reference materials, excludes extraneous details and inconsistencies, selects presentation format according to purpose, uses available technology to publish work) Standard 3. Level II.  Uses grammatical and mechanical conventions in written compositions 9. Uses conventions of spelling in written compositions (e.g., spells high frequency, commonly misspelled words from appropriate grade-level list; uses a dictionary and other resources to spell words; uses initial consonant substitution to spell related words; uses vowel combinations for correct spelling; uses contractions, compounds, roots, suffixes, prefixes, and syllable constructions to spell words) 10. Uses conventions of capitalization in written compositions (e.g., titles of people; proper nouns [names of towns, cities, counties, and states; days of the week; months of the year; names of streets; names of countries; holidays]; first word of direct quotations; heading, salutation, and closing of a letter) 11. Uses conventions of punctuation in written compositions (e.g., uses periods after imperative sentences and in initials, abbreviations, and titles before names; uses commas in dates and addresses and after greetings and closings in a letter; uses apostrophes in contractions and possessive nouns; uses quotation marks around titles and with direct quotations; uses a colon between hour and minutes)
Listening and Speaking
Standard 8. Level II. Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes 1. Contributes to group discussions 5. Uses strategies to convey a clear main point when speaking (e.g., expresses ideas in a logical manner, uses specific vocabulary to establish tone and present information)om different sources; uses appropriate visual aids and media)
Visual Arts
Standard 2. Level II. Knows how to use structures (e.g., sensory qualities, organizational principles, expressive features) and functions of art 3. Uses visual structures and functions of art to communicate ideas
Technology
Standard 2. Level II. Knows the characteristics and uses of computer software programs Uses a word processor to edit, copy, move, save, and print text with some formatting (e.g., centering lines, using tabs, forming paragraphs)
Working With Others
Standard 1. Level IV. Contributes to the overall effort of a group 2. Works cooperatively within a group to complete tasks, achieve goals, and solve problems 

Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • understand the purpose of brochures and how text features aid in the reader’s understanding of the text
  • brainstorm design and create a brochure to inform new students of policies, procedures and routines of our classroom
  • work collaboratively to problem solve and make decisions regarding the design and creation of a brochure
  • use grade level appropriate writing conventions, applications and strategies
  • incorporate the teacher’s parameters in the design
  • use word-processing
  • present their brochure to the teacher and classmates

Resources

Materials

  • brochures (collect from various venues prior to lesson) enough for groups of three students to review and analyze
  • Brochure Analysis handout
  • chart paper
  • paper
  • pencils
  • computer or word processor
  • Project Planning Sheet
  • Self-Evaluation sheet
  • Teacher Evaluation sheet
  • camera

Vocabulary

N/A

Procedures

Day 1: Building Background: The purpose of this will be to discuss and chart students’ prior knowledge of informational text and brochures.

1. Ask class these questions to create dialogue:

  • What is informational text?
  • What is the purpose for reading a brochure?

2. Ask students to get into groups of three to four students.

3. Pass out one brochure and a “Brochure Analysis” sheet to each group.  Students will fill out sheet to analyze features of the brochure.  Focus will be on brochure design, text features (boxes, photos), information included, layout, graphics and author’s message.

4. Bring groups together to discuss text features and design layout.

5. Chart findings for future reference.

Steps for Learning: The purpose of the following activities will be for students to determine pertinent information to include in a brochure for the classroom and present design challenge.

6. Present the design challenge:

  • Explain to students that they are designers whose challenge is to design brochure that would inform new students of how things work in our classroom.
  • They will work in groups of three to four to complete the challenge.
  • One group design will be published and given to any new students we have join our classroom this school year.
  • Ask students what information they feel should be included in it?

7. With students in their groups, they will brainstorm topics to include in the brochure. Reinforce that all ideas in a brainstorm are great ideas.

8. List ideas on a chart paper.

9. Bring groups together to share their ideas and make a class chart of ideas.

Day 2:

1. Reiterate design challenge to students: They must make decisions about what should be included in the brochure.

  • What is the most important information that should be included in the brochure?
  • What photos would be helpful to a new student?
  • What would be a good title?
  • What kind of graphic would be a representation of our class?

2. Model for students on chart paper how they can sketch a layout of a brochure and make decisions about the brochures layout and informational text.  Use boxes and label them text, photo, caption, etc.

3. Give challenge parameters.  The brochure must include: the pertinent information that they feel is important for a new member of the class to have, a title, subheadings, at least one photo, and a logo.

  • 4. Work Time -- Pass out project planning sheet.  Students work in small groups to decide on layout, determining text, photo, heading and logo placement. Emphasize teamwork.  Go around to each group asking probing questions:
  • What do you think is the most important thing a new student should know about our classroom?
  • Why is that important?
  • What are you planning on taking a picture of?
  • Why would this picture be helpful?

5. Students begin to write text, design logo and take photos to include in the brochure.  Encourage students to split up the work in order to work more effectively.

Day 3:

1. Students continue working in small groups to finish draft of brochure.  Teacher should continue walking around to groups to consult, encourage, or answer any questions.

2. With teacher’s okay, students begin word processing and formatting brochure using Microsoft Word brochure template.  Teacher to assist with formatting in Word program if needed. o:p>

Teacher provides trouble-shooting assistance with technology as needed.

Day 4:

1. Work time -- Continue if needed.

2. Students will print a sample brochure to proofread for grammatical, mechanical and spelling errors.

3. Once the format and editing are completed to the groups’ satisfaction, print the brochure and assemble.

4. Students complete self-evaluation to reflect on their design and process.

Day 5: Sharing

1. Student groups will present their brochure to their peers and teacher.  The presentations should include:

  • How the brochure would be helpful to a new student
  • Why they made the decisions they did in designing it

2. After all groups have presented the teacher will determine one design to publish and copy to give to new students who enroll during the school year.

Assessment

The teacher will interact with groups to listen to their conversations, observe and ask questions to push student thinking.

Teacher will use a rubric to evaluate student group work and finished product.

Students will complete a self- evaluation.

Enrichment Extension Activities

Students may create other multimedia designs to convey the same information, i.e. books, posters, Web sites etc.

Make other brochures on a topic of the student’s choosing.

Take the idea to a larger audience, such as a student brochure about the school rather than the classroom.
  1. A “Welcome to Our Classroom” or “Welcome to Our School” brochure created by students is such a ‘cool’ idea. Students would have the opportunity to introduce their classroom or school from their point of view.It would also allow students to incorporate and enhance their writing and creatives skills ans strategies.

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