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Spence writing project

Spence elementary, Western students collaborate on writing project

Western Techincal College students from Lisa Heise’s creative nonfiction class write a children’s book each fall as part of a class project and the kids at Spence Elementary get to help.

Through a partnership with the district, Heise and her students deliver drafts of the books to Sam Bina’s third-grade class at Spence Elementary School. Two weeks ago, the elementary students were given the books, asked to read them, and then make revisions and write reviews of the stories. Heise then returned to collect the edited copies.

“This is such a wonderful opportunity to include students from a variety of ages and backgrounds into the learning process,” said Heise. “This experience benefits not only Western students but also those in Mr. Bina’s classroom.”

Participation in the project has helped the third-graders become more cognizant of their own writing styles.

“Our third-graders take great pride in providing feedback to the university students,” said Spence Elementary teacher Sam Bina. “Not only do the elementary students enjoy reading these books, this project helps promote and practice important elements of the writing process such as revising and editing.”

Participating in the writing project helped many of the elementary students to feel more informed and excited about using correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling in their writing.

“We read them for the college kids, so we could find mistakes in their books and they could become writers,” said third-grader Sophie Smaby. “It was fun to get to read the books and to help make the books better by helping to fix them. We learned that it’s okay to make mistakes, even college kids make mistakes in school, but then you learn more from what you need to fix. Getting to help make these books felt special because not many people get to do something like this.”

“It is a win-win scenario for all students involved,” said Bina. “Who else seems more fitting to analyze and critique children’s books other than the children themselves.”