Sixth graders transformed their desks into elaborate displays, representing poignant moments in their lives, for a writing celebration at Saw Mill Road Elementary School on Jan. 14.
Students in Danielle Houghton’s class worked on their personal narrative pieces for several months. It began with immersion, in which they read mentor texts by accomplished authors to understand good writing practices. And it culminated with a celebration in which the sixth graders invited in their kindergarten buddies to share their freshly published pieces.
In between, students wrote several drafts and went through a peer editing process. By sharing stories with classmates, the young writers received constructive feedback to make meaningful revisions to their stories.
Ms. Houghton said that the topics were wide-ranging, from sports to vacations to time they tried something new. Students were invested in their pieces because the ideas represented moments that were important in their lives.
Patrick Mulvey wrote about the time he was in the hospital to have surgery, and the outpouring of support he received from friends and family. He emphasized in his story how “you’re never alone” even in tough times.
“I enjoyed writing to story,” he said, “because I feel that my readers are going to enjoy it because they will learn a good lesson.”
Madison Argentina took readers on a journey of her experience learning how to dance. She enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate her hard work and create a display that represented her story.
“It makes it more enjoyable to write about something that we know about,” she said.
Ms. Houghton said that culminating celebrations are an important part of each unit in Writer’s Workshop, but her students decided how to celebrate. It was their idea to have a showcase for their buddies from Patricia Graham’s kindergarten class and foster an excitement for writing in their younger peers.