My art lesson is held in a rooftop studio where my teacher’s husband raises chickens and pigeons in pens nearby. Sprite loves to go with me and help “Pigeon King” care for the birds. He confided in her one day that of all the young students my art teacher has taught over the years, Sprite is the only child who has ever taken a real interest in the birds and has not been afraid to enter the pigeon coop. (That made me sad for the children who are missing out, but glad for Sprite’s love of nature.)
Part of my learning goals for Sprite this year (5th grade) is that she grow in independent studies. So I took a natural interest — the pigeons — and gave her a research assignment. (Hat tip to Cindy and her project based learning; I also found Camp Creek Blog very helpful in moving my mental gears.)
She chose to create a lapbook to demonstrate what she learned from her own observations of the pigeons and from her interviews of the “Pigeon King.”
At the beginning of the project, I did sit down with her and give her some tips for how to outline the project. She caught on quickly and shooed me away so she could plan. I wish I had photos of her prewriting, but she loves to cross things out as she completes them. So as she moved from prewriting to the minibooks, she made a mess of the planning pages.
She listed topics to cover in her research, wrote down what she already knew, listed things to ask the “Pigeon King,” and made notes of photos to take. She took the photographs, selected ones to print (on sticky backed paper), and designed the pigeon coop layout. ALL by herself! Interspersed among the facts in her minibooks, she drew humorous cartoons. She asked me to help her figure the dimensions of the minibooks and to cut the paper, but that was my sole contribution.
To say that I’m pleased with her project is an understatement. I can’t wait to show the “Pigeon King” on Friday. All the photos are at Pigeon Lapbook at Flickr.
I can’t help but think that the years of making lapbooks together has helped this very visual child to see the outlining and organizational process needed for a research project. Now she’s making lapbooks all on her own.
For more pigeon resources, visit Happy Hearts at Home blog.