TROY — Fifth graders at Cookson Elementary have now become fluent in the process of seeing a book through from word one to final publication.
A 112-page research book, titled, “The Fifty States and Puerto Rico,” was unveiled to students on Friday morning by instructor Shelly Stewart, and chronicled original art and research on America’s states and territories by 56 participating fifth graders.
“We studied the regions of the United States, and then we broke it down into individual states,” Stewart said. “We had a massive research project about a state was selected. They had to prepare the pages that would go in the book, do a written report, and also make a parade float representing their state. This was a long multi-step project they created.”
According to Stewart, making each fifth grader responsible for their own U.S. state or territory emphasized the importance of thorough research.
“The students were interested in learning states and capitals, but instead of the traditional way of learning, we decided each student would become the teachers of their own state, and share what they learned with others,” Stewart said. “They asked me at one point if they could actually add more facts, such as when they became a state, and where they fall in the state size rank. They added a lot more detail, and made the project even better.”
For a cover design for the 112-page book, Stewart turned to fifth grader Brooklynn Hurd.
“Brooklynn did the cover all on her own,” Stewart said. “She researched all 50 states.”
“My mom and I did the research together,” Brooklynn said. “We tried to think of things that were from each state, like the Puerto Rican flag and the snowman for Alaska.”
The finished product was binded at no charge by Studentreasures Publishing, albeit through special permission requested by Stewart, given the product’s high page count.
More than anything, Stewart believes that the book-building experience instilled in students “pride in their work.”
“They took great pride knowing the book would be shared by others,” Stewart said. “I saw them put forth more effort and more time in their work. Everything is handwritten, so most of the handwriting was at its best. They spent a long time on this, so I think the end product is a fantastic reward for him.”
This marked the first time the book-building project had been conducted with Cookson’s fifth graders, but Stewart exclaimed enthusiasm at the thought of reprising it next year.
“It was a huge undertaking, but it was worth it,” Stewart said. “When we had the floats on display in the hallway, I had fourth graders ask if they could do it when they were in fifth grade. It would be great to do it again.”
For more information on school events, visit www.troy.k12.oh.us.