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See what's going on in Mrs.Sellers's third grade class at North Elementary

Tyler Semler, Staff Writer

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    As educators, it is a teacher’s job to help their students succeed and prepare them for the future. Maribeth Sellers, a third grade teacher at North Elementary, decided to start a class newsletter in order to help her students become better writers.

    “This is the second year I’ve done a class newsletter,” Sellers said. “I’ve always had some students write their own little stories for the class, but this is the first time I’ve turned the whole [newsletter] thing over to them.”

    Although this is only the beginning of having a class newsletter, Sellers can already see a big difference in her students’ writing.

    “The students are writing a lot more volume-wise. They are more motivated and have more ownership of their writing,” Sellers said. “The students like to have voice in their writing. It helps motivate and empower them to want to write.”

    As for the students, most of them seem to enjoy getting to create a class newsletter with their classmates. They get two weeks to write their story and put their pages together, and they get to choose between hand drawing their pages or using the app Book Creator to publish their story and pages. Once all the students’ stories are finished, they publish them on the popular website Smore. They have written over topics like: the olympics, spring, holidays. Their next class topic is social issues such as bullying and inclusion. One pair of students, Tripp Baugh and Amrinder Gill, are currently working on a story together about a book they read called The Invisible Man.

     “I knew a lot about the book, so I just chose this as my story,” Gill said. “I like to use Book Creator because it makes the font bigger and you can do a lot more stuff, while if you handwrite it, you don’t have as much room. Book Creator lets you add more pages so you don’t run out of room.”

    Creativity is key when writing stories for the newsletter, and Gill surely doesn’t lack any of that.

    “I’ve been writing a story about a Super Pickle and an Evil Taco fighting,” Gill said. “I wrote stories about each one, and I decided to combine them as one.”

    Sellers class has recently started a study of rocks and minerals, so Aerin Alvis, Avery Bosworth, Caden Hildebrand, and Eli Norville decided it would be a good idea to write a story over something they’re currently working on. Norville is working on captions and illustrations, while Alvis, Bosworth, and Hildebrand are researching facts and different types of rocks and minerals.

    “We are starting a rocks and minerals study in class, so we thought it would be cool to get a head start and write a story about what we’re actually learning in class,” Bosworth said.

The students are supposed to have fun while writing these stories, and that’s exactly what they’re doing.

    “[We enjoy] picking our own topic, getting to work with friends, and getting to write about something we’re learning about,” Hildebrand said.

    Just like any other grade, when writing a story for English, there are certain steps you must follow during the writing process in order to publish your final copy.

    “We write [the story], illustrate it and then we talk about what we can fix and improve,” Bosworth said. “We first look at it as a group, then we share it with the whole class to see if there’s any other changes we need to fix.”

    Like Bosworth, Anderson Melton discusses the importance of the writing process they go through.

    “Normally we think of a topic and check it with Mrs.Sellers. Then, we plan [the story] out. We brainstorm it out with thought bubbles or a web,” Melton said. “We used to go straight to our iPads, but now we write out our ideas on paper so we don’t forget them and so we have a better understanding of what our story will be about. Everyone has to do the brainstorming, but it’s up to us on how we want our chapters and topics to look on the page.”

    After working hard on their stories and pages, the end reward is definitely worth it according to Jude Allen and Bosworth.

    “I feel good about myself because I know I finished my article and put it on a website where everyone can see and read it” Allen said.

    “I feel really excited after finishing my story,” Bosworth said. “It makes me feel like a real writer.”

    Whether these kids grow up to become writers or not, Sellers is paving the way for many successful careers, which is exactly what teachers should be doing.


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