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Wilkinson Elementary: The Triangle

One of the most important and overlooked ways to teach students to think like authors, is to include the children in the schools newsletter. Wilkinson Elementary has a newsletter called, The Triangle, which is a perfect example of what schools should be doing. 

If students practice being an author, they will learn to excel in reading, writing, storytelling, communications, and build confidence. With a newsletter, the students are even introduced to marketing! 

Take a look at just some of the articles in The Triangle. 

Mr. Harrison’s fifth grade class said a heartfelt goodbye as the students head to middle school. Here is one of many examples that the students wrote in their letter to the school. 

“Dear Wilkinson: 

I will miss the good six years that I had at this school. You have the nicest and smartest teachers, coolest staff, and along-the-way-friends that I’ll remember forever. The truth is that these have been some of the happiest years of my life so far. I want you guys to know that you are the most awesome of all and I will miss you a lot. I will treasure all the fun, cool, funny, and friendship memories I had at this school. 

Adriana M.” 

This letter shows the emotion and thankfulness from a student to her school. 

How about this news-breaking story, written by a Moriah H., a second-grader in Mrs. Achille’s class. (A shorten version to fit this blog.) 

“We came into the classroom and there was a fog. When my teacher Mrs. Achille checked the microwave, there was a fire! 

I was so scared and ran outside. The fog was really smoke. Then the alarm went off. We were outside for a long time, but we played Simon Says. It took like 45 minutes. Then the fireman put the fire out. 

It started raining when we got in. We could not go to the classroom for the rest of the day. We stayed at Ms. Spritzer’s class for 5 minutes. Ms. Spritzer gave the whole class a Tootsie Roll. Then we went to Ms. Gardner’s class for 10 minutes. 

Now that day was scary.”

Wow, what a story! And it was written by a second grader!   

Mrs. Osan and the other third grade students talked about their field trip to the Florida Studio Theater. 

Third grader, Antonio C. had this to say: 

“I like the shows at the Florida Studio Theater. The kids made up the shows and worked hard to come up with the stories. My favorite one was about squirrels throwing acorns at birds.” 

Two important lessons had been learned. First, anything created by children, will be entertaining to children. Second, theater and drama is another outlet for imagination and storytelling. 

Mrs. Avishar’s Speech Kids wrote about future fairytales. Here are the first couple of lines from student, Michael B. (I want all my fellow authors to learn from this example.) 

“Once upon a time, there was a farmer in the future. It was midnight.” 

Michael sure knows how to start a book! More authors can learn from this. A strong, interesting first couple of lines will grip the reader. 

Speaking of stories that grip the reader’s attention, check this out. “Mrs. Perry’s third graders took a trip and lived to tell about it!” 

That is an attention grabber. Well done. 

Another article was about the 4th graders going to Bay Village Retirement Home to interview the seniors. This is the best history lesson a student could ever receive. Just some of the subjects were about the Olympics, World War II, and original school houses. 

Mrs. Wilke’s third grade class gave tips on saving the earth. Some examples were picking up trash in the neighborhood, ride bikes instead of driving cars, recycle paper and plastics, and saving electricity. Everyday should be Earth Day! 

The entire Triangle Newsletter was filled with stories from students in all grades. It is sponsored by the PTO, but certainly a publication that the entire school participates. I think it is fascinating to read stories and articles, written by students. 

In short, these students are in the first stages of becoming authors, using the same skills of reading, writing, storytelling, communication, and portraying confidence…and yes, marketing. 

The principal of Wilkinson Elementary is Ruth M. Thomas. Her pledge is this. “Up the ante…A Year of Refinement, using what we know, to change what we do.” 

I couldn’t agree more. 

Ron Knight 

For more on Wilkinson Elementary, go to http://www.sarasotacountyschools.net/schools/wilkinson/  

For Ron Knight’s other blog, go to www.upauthors.com/blog 

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