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Northwest Students are Authors and Experts

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As experts on a wide variety of topics, students at Northwest Elementary School have been sharing their knowledge through writing. The youngsters have been excited to express what they know while also developing their literary skills.

First graders in Jaclynn Johnson-Dematos’ class recently completed their “how to” writing unit. Each child thought of something he or she knows how to do, from making an ice cream sundae or a sandwich to building a snowman, and created a book. Students learned how to write step-by-step instructions and use transition words. They also drew illustrations to accompany the text.

Ms. Johnson-Dematos said that before becoming authors themselves, first graders read several mentor texts, such as “How to Make a Pizza” and “How to Play Soccer.”

In Jenny Smith and Kerrin Faulkner’s second grade class, students created digital “all about” books. Before the holiday break, they read multiple nonfiction books to learn how to present factual information.

When they returned in January, students wrote books about their favorite December holidays. They used background knowledge from their own experiences to explain the meaning, symbols and traditions of the holidays. 

As students were learning remotely during the first two weeks of January, they published their stories virtually using Book Creator on their Chromebooks. This allowed them to create lively digital books with colorful backgrounds, pictures and graphics. They learned how to incorporate different elements into their books such as photos and captions, a glossary, headers and a table of contents. 

Ms. Smith and Ms. Faulkner shared all of the books using Padlet, so students could easily find and read each other’s books, then leave positive comments. Children also recorded videos in which they read excerpts from their books.

After finishing up the holidays books, each student could then choose a topic for his or her next “all about” book. Ms. Smith and Ms. Faulkner said the topic should be something they know about, but also something that would require research to learn even more.
Monday, May 17, 2021