Community Portraits in Pictures and Words

  Big Picture
Student writers learn to serve when they donate a series of collaboratively written books to children. Bookmaking helps young authors work together on illustrations and text, acquire publishing skills through computer literacy, and develop personal themes of family and neighborhood.

Art, Language Arts,
Grades 1-5
Preparation for service begins with student concern and expression of empathy which results in a class decision to share their own stories with other children. Throughout the book-making process, students:
Focus on recipients of their work.
Apply word processing skills.
Use authoring software to brainstorm, write, respond, rewrite, and edit.

Variations on the theme of visual literacy occur when students illustrate their stories, exchange illustrations, and compose new stories from their partners’ drawings. With pictures scanned and pages bound, books are enjoyed by children in hospitals, libraries and community centers.
Lambros Alex Pappas

Teacher Profile

Alex has taught art for 34 years and is now at James Michael Curley Elementary School. MetLife Fellow (National Teacher Policy Institute), consultant for Lincoln Filene Center at Tufts University, BPS Lead Teacher, and Golden Apple recipient, Alex advocates for radical whole school change.

Books and Materials

A Creative Bookmaking Guide for Young Authors
from Book-Write; Making Books
that Fly, Fold, Wrap, Hide, Pop-Up, Twist and Turn
by Gwen Diehn; Classroom Interviews: A World of Learning by Paula Rogovin; bookbinding and art supplies, local maps, writing stuff

Technology Tools
Microcomputers, digital camera, scanner, audio recorder, ClarisWorks or Microsoft Word, KidPix Studio, PowerPoint or HyperStudio, Internet


Special #1
Kids Create Calendars for Kids

Special #2

You Are Invited to a Virtual Dinner

Special #3

Thank You for the Get Well Card


With each student fulfilling arts and writing standards, this publishing project gives kids opportunities to explore their feelings. The mutual points of view exchange leads to self discovery, altruism, and appreciation of differing creative approaches.