A Class Book Full of Life Lessons at Shuler Elementary

There’s a new book hitting the shelves soon, authored by Josh Abbott’s 3rd grade class at Shuler Elementary.

“We are writing basically everything that we think about our identity and then we are going to make it our class book,” says 3rd Grader William Schoeppner. 

Identity and 3rd grade students don’t always go hand-in-hand. But after spending an afternoon in the classroom, it’s clear, this is really important to them.

“It’s a great year and age for them because they are aware of parts of who they are and what makes them them,” says Mr. Abbott. “They are coming into that understanding of what is them and what are the things that make them unique and special.”

All of those amazing things are going to fill those pages of the class book.

“Our identity can be different and the same in many ways to other people,” says 3rd Grader Marshall Truong.

“We brought it home and then we filled out how we got our name, where our ancestors came from and what holidays we celebrate,” said Josi Haney.

“We are going to share all of our families in the class, all about our culture and all of the things people didn’t know about us,” adds Wyatt Varcoe.  

When students are able to share the most important things in their lives, really powerful things can happen.

“We’ve talked about things that I’ve never been asked by students before,” says Abbott. “That shows they have this deeper awareness of our society and our world. I think that’s a huge part of why they are invested.”

The success of this lesson is apparent and not just because the work is getting done.

“They’ve always known differences and been accepting of others,” says Abbott. “It’s kind of at a deeper level, it feels like this year. They are understanding why we talk about these things and why it’s important to understand that.”

Even though the audience for this book will be the students in Mr. Abbott’s 3rd grade classroom, the powerful pages are great for all of us to read. 

“If all of us were the same, the world just wouldn’t be that cool,” says Schoeppner. 

The students are creating autobiographies that connect to their school work on identity, acceptance and celebration of things that make their classmates unique and special.