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Upgrading The Book Report: Try a Book Flatlay Project

Upgrade your traditional book report with a book flatlay project where students showcase their critical thinking skills.

The traditional book report has its place in the Language Arts classroom, but it doesn’t have to be the only way students are expected to share or talk about their reading. Some more creative ways – such as a Book Flatlay Project, also known as a Book Bento – can help students share their reading creatively and thoughtfully. 

This blog post will review what a book flatlay is and explain how to use this type of project in your middle school classroom. 

What is a “book flatlay”?

A book flatlay is a popular photography style often used on social media platforms to showcase books in an aesthetically pleasing way. “Flatlay” refers to arranging and photographing items from a top-down perspective, with the camera positioned directly above the arranged objects.

In a book flatlay, you would arrange a book or multiple books along with various props and decorations – which can sometimes be related to the book – on a flat surface. Then, you would position your camera above the arrangement and snap a picture, creating a visually appealing composition. 

This type of photography allows students to express creativity about what they are reading. Book flatlays are particularly popular in the book community on social media. This style of photography has become a way for book lovers to express their love for literature in a visually appealing and creative manner.

Why use a book flatlay project with middle school students? 

Students love this kind of project because it allows them to create a fun collage of items related to their current reads. Rather than putting their book thoughts into a traditional book report format, they can add items around their book that relate to the story’s theme. 

Even if you still want to use a traditional book report format eventually, having students play around with book flatlays can be a fun way to get them to start talking and thinking about a book. Students can assemble their arrangement, take a picture, explain why they picked certain items, and then share it with the teacher and their classmates. It’s a creative project that makes learning more enjoyable.

Upgrading The Book Report: Book Flatlay Project – Step-by-Step Instructions

If book flatlays sound like something you’d like to use in your classroom, here is a quick step-by-step guide to putting them together.

  1. Begin by introducing the concept of a book flatlay to your students. What is it? How is one put together? Show a few photo examples, or an example or two of book flatlays you have created or past students have done.
  2. Have students design and photograph their flatlay. This can be done as an at-home assignment or by having students bring items into the classroom to put their book flatlays together.
  3. Be sure students can photograph their completed work. Confirm that all students have access to some type of camera, and make arrangements for students who might not have access to one. Doing the flatlays in class can prevent this from being a problem, as you can be the one to photograph all flatlays.
  4. Once the flatlays have been photographed, have students explain their props and placement choices. Why is each prop included? Why is one thing more prominently displayed than another? What textual connections and evidence are there for all of the parts?
  5. Consider having students share their flatlays with the class and/or displaying them in your room. These also make great displays in the hallway or other public places for events like open houses and parent-teacher conference time.

Bringing the concept of a book flatlay into your class doesn’t have to be complicated. To save time and effort on your part, be sure to check out my Book Flatlay Project.

Book Flatlay Project – Book Bento Project

Book Flatlay Assignment Example

The Book Flatlay Project offers a fantastic alternative to the traditional book report. It provides a unique opportunity for students to display their learning after completing an independent reading novel, participating in literature circles, or studying a whole-class novel. 

It’s the perfect way to infuse creativity into your classroom while assessing your students’ comprehension and critical thinking abilities.

What’s included in this Book Flatlay Project

  • Clear instructions for teachers on introducing the concept of a book flatlay or book bento.
  • Guidance for students in the form of an assignment sheet to steer their creative process.
  • Well-designed visual aids, such as graphic organizers, to assist students in planning their projects.
  • Various assessment options, including rubrics based on standards and points, help you evaluate assignments effectively.
  • A sample flatlay or bento photo with a corresponding write-up to illustrate what an engaging photo looks like, along with a well-crafted description.
  • Alignment with both the Ontario Curriculum and Common Core standards ensures easy integration into your existing lesson plans.
  • Available in print (PDF) and digital (Google Slides) formats, offering flexibility to match your teaching style and classroom requirements.

Here is what teachers are saying about the Book Flatlay Project

“My students and I both loved this creative reading assessment idea! It was new and fresh and a fun way to assess their general understanding of the book, as well at the deeper themes and motifs. Thank you!” (Lauren Loves To Teach)

“I loved this idea when I saw you share it on social media – so clever. My students enjoyed it as well. I printed their photos and it made an awesome display. I am always looking for different, creative ways for my students to show their learning. The photos were shared in small groups with their peers and also used as discussion starters in a conference with me.” (Holly Davies)

Grab your copy of the Book Flatlay Project on Teachers Pay Teachers USD or Shopify CAD

Are you looking for more fun and unique book report alternatives? You might like this blog post: Renovating the Traditional ELA Book Report.

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