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For the last several years, students at a Gainesville, Florida middle school have produced an award winning literary journal. It is exciting to win national awards, but the greatest reward comes when each student discovers that there is a writer within him- or herself. With very few exceptions, all of the writing published in each year's journal is done in the classroom. Students in the seventh and eighth grade language arts classes have an integrated reading, writing, and literature program that requires them to write on a daily basis. Their writings may be in response to the story of the week through identification with the character(s), description of setting, development of theme, telling of related happenings, invented dialogues, imagined alternate happenings, or imagined alternate endings. Stories used in the program must have literary merit, but they must also relate to the interests and concerns of this age group. Functioning as a facilitator and catalyst, the teacher helps students to understand that writing is a process that involves multiple drafts, conferencing (with peers and teacher), editing, and proofreading. The journal comes together when student editors review the submissions and make decisions together about what to publish. Further expansion of this literary journal project may come next year when students take part in an interdisciplinary project, for which that will study the work and life of Marjorie K. Rawlings, the late writer and resident of Cross Creek, Florida. (TB)

Descriptors: Class Activities, Integrated Activities, Intermediate Grades, Junior High Schools, Laboratory Schools, Literature Appreciation, Middle School Students, Middle Schools, Peer Groups, Periodicals, Student Needs, Student Projects, Student Publications, Teacher Role, Writing for Publication

Autor: Kaiser, Barbara


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