Inside the library at Chapel Hill’s Wise Elementary School sits a new bilingual book, ‘Up in the North Pole, the Artic,’ written by a group of students.
Proudly telling their friends and parents “we are published authors,” the 17 students who were formerly in Claudia Fuentes’ first grade dual language class at Wise Elementary can now add that title to their bucket list.
Joseph Bautista, student at Wise Elementary, proudly held the book in his hand.
“I did this, and I wrote this,” he pointed out while scanning through the published book.
Bautista said he is very happy to be considered an author and as someone who likes to write and draw, he considers the book his current favorite.
Along with the other students, Bautista put in a lot of work before the book was published. He researched many things during the six-week period, such as how animals in the arctic live, eat and how they take care of each other, he said.
Fuentes brought the book to life with her classroom.
“Instead of having them just do a regular research paper on the animal, which is normally what we were going to do, I figured it was more fun if we created a book and they were super excited,” Fuentes said.
The idea came to life thanks to inspiration from social media and the help of a website, she said.
Once the idea was brought up, the students were in disbelief they could publish a book with their own artwork and stories, Fuentes said.
“They were like, ‘We’re going to put it all in a book?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah we’re doing it.’ So it really put it together for them and the process of why we write the way we were writing and why we make them go over their punctuation, sentences,” she said.
Fuentes mentioned that as the book process evolved, students were really able to learn and piece together the importance of education lessons such as social studies, reading and science lessons.
“It really brought everything together for them like, ‘Oh, this is what an author does and this is why a story has to have a beginning, middle and end. This is why our sentence has to have a capital letter and punctuation,’” she said. “It really brought that aspect together for them and it really showed them how to work together as a team because they were having to find research. We were teaching them a second and third grade skill as far as researching something and using the technology and a book.”
During the research process, students were not only doing all procedures in English but as a dual language course, students were also doing it in Spanish, she said.
“They were researching with me in Spanish and then on the computer they were researching it in English. They would bring it to me and I would help them with the translation,” she said.
Fuentes said the book was part of the science lesson and the theme of Arctic Tundra was established in the beginning of the year. The lesson plan was originally set to consist of a research paper and a thinking map process for students.
Fuentes said the parents were amazed with the book.
“One of the parents, when they were able to see the finished product, it was beyond their expectation. It was an actual book ... they thought it was going to be laminated,” she said.
Fuentes mentioned she hopes to publish another book with her next classroom for the upcoming school year.
“Up in the North Pole, the Artic” is about 18 animals that live in the arctic with research and drawings from the 17 students. The book will make its debut in the campus library and be on display this upcoming school year at Wise Elementary.