Jan. 6—North Whitfield Middle School eighth-graders created their own children's books and, as an early Christmas present, gifted them to third-graders at Cohutta Elementary School last month.
The eighth-graders also read the books with the third-graders Dec. 13 at Cohutta Elementary and created questions about the books for their younger proteges to answer based on state standards for third-graders, said Crystal Gladson, a third-grade teacher at the school.
"It's a great experience for the eighth-graders and the third-graders."
Callan Ledford was "really excited" to share her book, the main theme of which was "treat others the way you wanted to be treated," because "I like to help kids out, (and) kids can sometimes be mean to other kids," said the eighth-grader. She hopes they'll read it and "see 'Oh, maybe I shouldn't be mean.'"
In her story, a bully begins to receive nasty treatment, and he realizes how painful it is to be on the receiving end of bullying, she said.
"It was very fun" to do this project, and "I like writing, (especially) narrative and research."
Students were asked to write a narrative, then compile a PowerPoint, which was organized into a book, said eighth-grader Masyn Gladson, Crystal Gladson's daughter, who used the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City's Twin Towers for a piece of historical fiction.
"I thought (that tragedy) was something everyone heard of and could grasp."
In her story, twin girls with a mother who works in one of the Twin Towers barely escape the collapse, although one is seriously injured, so her sister must nurse her back to health, she said. The lesson is, "no matter what we go through, we can persevere and make it through."
This project, new to North Whitfield Middle School this school year, was a way for "really good writers to showcase their writing, and we started before Thanksgiving," said Samantha Bacchus, an English teacher at the middle school.
Though "not perfect — things I didn't even know they needed to work on surfaced through this" — the 50 eighth-graders who completed books "are really proud of them, and there was more at stake for them than if only I was reading them."
"They were excited to do this," Bacchus added. "I think it will work in any group."
This experience "excited (the third-graders) about what is coming as they get older, and (demonstrated) why we do what we do in third grade," said Crystal Gladson. "The kids are really into it, and I'd love for this to become an annual thing."
It is "exciting, and I like to read," said third-grader Audrey Kate Close. "I've never done this before."
Adalynn Brown enjoyed Ledford's book, and "this is exciting," said the third-grader. "I like to read all kinds of chapter books."
This project was "a really fun experience and chance to show (the third-graders) something they can do with their own writing," Masyn Gladson said. "I love writing — it's a good way to express creativity" — and this project "showed me how to structure a story really well."