Grades 7 and 8 students recognized for hard work on children’s books
Eli, a Grade 7 student at Burlington Christian Academy (BCA), recently had the honour of attending a literary tea where a portion of his first-ever published work, The Adventures of Nick and Matt, was read to attendees.
Eli’s book details the escapades of two boys dealing with a bully.
The student says he learned dedication more than anything through the process of writing and illustrating his own book.
“It teaches you dedication because you’re working on (the book) for a while and you have to learn to keep working hard at it and not give up.”
Eli was one of about 19 Grades 7 and 8 students at BCA who each wrote and illustrated a book of 800-1,200 words. This followed an in-class study of award-winning children’s books in a wide range of themes and genres.
Shannon Morrow, who taught the unit to her Advanced Level Program of Athletics (ALPA) class, organized a high tea to celebrate the students’ writing accomplishments. A parent, Jaye Tidds, and Grade 2 teacher, Colleen Izsak, helped co-ordinate the activities.
April 30 the school gymnasium was set up for a formal tea. A local Starbucks shop sponsored the event and several local high school students served the tea, fancy sandwiches and desserts.
Parents, grandparents, siblings, and other extended family-members of the students were in attendance.
Awards were presented for Illustrator of the Year, Author of the Year and Book of the Year, the last of which recognized the quality of the book’s writing and illustrations. Two Authors to Watch Awards were also presented for students who surprised everyone with their efforts and “put out their best work of the year on this project,” according to Morrow.
BCA staff members voted on the award winners, who received medals as well as the inscription of their names on a large trophy. The trophy will document annual winners.
A segment of each student’s book was read aloud, either by themselves or another person. The Best Book and Best Author winners were read in full.
Morrow says the response from guests was overwhelming.
“They loved it, so much so that we’ve already begun planning our next (event).”
The students also enjoyed the celebration, according to Morrow.
“They were proud of their work and thrilled with the response from the guests,” she says, noting some visitors enjoyed the stories so much they asked students for copies of the books.
“It was incredibly cool experience for the kids.”
Principal Gord McNeice says the event is a great example of experiential learning, which the school supports and encourages.
He points out the students had to research children’s books, read children’s book to younger students to find out what they liked best, and in the end have their works read aloud to an audience as well as autograph their volumes for family-members.
“It’s a great example of experiential learning and that’s where we want to be as a school; we really want to give the students an opportunity for that (kind of learning).”
The literary event is to become an annual activity. Because of the time and effort required, books will only be written once every two years. Next year a Beatnik Café is planned with live jazz and a celebration of Grades 7 and 8 poetry.
Morrow is co-ordinator of ALPA, athletic director and teacher of Language Arts for the Grades 7 and 8 ALPA students.