I originally saw this project either on Pinterest or a blog.... I can't remember anymore. The original post was with a 1st grade class where the kids painted the background, a candid picture was taken, and a sentence was added. I LOVED the personality of these and decided to make it a little harder. In my old district the 3rd graders created these fantastic poems based off the book "I am America" that I decided would be PERFECT for my project.
Day two I had the kids write down 15 things about themselves on a piece of paper - I gave them 10 minutes to do this. I asked them to write a word or two for each thing, no sentences. (Have you ever watched a 4th grader compose a sentence?!? oh boy.)
Next I read them "I am America".
After we talked about patterns in the book - how it was worded. Does it make sense to say, "I am blue jeans?" -- What does that mean? Does it actually mean the person is made of blue jeans?! We discuss and when I felt like the kids got it I introduced the next part.
On the back of their paper students write 10 sentences combining their ideas about themselves and the wording from "I am America". So, for example if I wrote, "green" on the front, on the back I might right, "I am bright green fresh cut grass." Or if I wrote, "cheese pizza" on the front, on the back I might right, "I am gooey hot cheese pizza".
My goal was to get students to stretch their sentences to be more than "I like pizza". Most students enjoyed coming up with words like, dazzling shimmering, bold, loud, awesome... etc.
The next time I saw students I booked the computer lab and I had students type their 10 sentences. I figured this would take 15-20 minutes.. BOY WAS I WRONG!! Have you ever watched 4th graders type?!?!?! WoW. It took them a full 50 minutes and even then some were finishing up.
I had students type all 10 sentences first, THEN if they had time students were allowed to go back and change fonts, colors, and sizes of their text. We printed them out and kept them till next class.
The very last day of this project I printed out pictures I took of them, handed them their poem and asked them to cut neatly! Then they arranged their poem AND their picture to make a unique composition. Last but not least - it all got glued down.
These are breathtaking to look at. The contrast between the bright background and their black and white pictures are perfect.
This project took many classes to do, but the end product was well worth it.
**NOTE** To protect images of my students the pictures presented are cropped and do not show full project.