Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Adventures of Lucky Book Showcases Walnut 2nd Grade Authors

Take one extremely cute teddy bear. Add two educators who enjoy teaching writing. Mix well with 26 enthusiastic second graders and you have the recipe for an exciting elementary school publishing project.

One day last Fall, Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor Alysa Cummings placed a stuffed animal in Suzanne Hill’s classroom. She had tied a tag around the teddy bear’s leg that read: “will you please take good care of me?” The students were quite curious about their classroom visitor; they quickly named the teddy bear Lucky. The project kicked off with a group writing activity focused on just describing the bear.

The following week, Ms. Cummings came into the classroom with a digital photo of Lucky sitting at Mr. Gamble’s desk. “When you all went home from school the other day, it looks like Lucky decided to go on an adventure. He went down the hall to the principal’s office. What do you think happened while he was there?” The students began to write:

Lucky saw the Walnut Street School lunch menus on Mr. Gamble’s desk. He changed Monday’s lunch to ice cream and nachos. After that he changed Tuesday’s lunch to candy corn and chocolate milk.

The students’ suggestions translated into next chapters. In short order, Lucky popped up in the Walnut Street School library, the music room, the cafeteria and the playground. Ms. Cummings worked with Ms. Hill to combine individual student pieces into chapters describing each of Lucky’s adventures around Walnut Street School. The teachers found that chapter by chapter, the students needed less help expressing their ideas, until by the end, they could just look at a digital photograph of Lucky and begin telling a story.

A copy of Lucky’s Adventures will be spiral bound and donated to the Walnut Street School library for other children to enjoy. For now, a bulletin board outside of Ms. Hill’s second grade classroom celebrates the students’ imagination and enthusiasm for writing. The writing project is moving to West End School this month and will showcase the adventures of a monkey named Bananas. By March, the project will be underway in Evergreen Avenue School as well.

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