“I’m just a kid….how can I write a story?”
Students in the grades 5 and 6 classes at Milton Christian School were faced with this driving question recently in their Literature class. Their task was to create and publish a new version of an old favorite - to modernize or put a new spin on and old tale to create their own “fractured” fairy tale.
The project, which covered four subject areas including writing, reading, technological studies, and oral communication involved a great deal of collaboration and negotiation amongst students. Choosing which fairy tale to retell was the first of many steps. Students spent time brainstorming their ideas and putting them together to create a first draft. “Warm” and “cool” feedback from students in other grades helped the authors to concentrate on the ways they could improve their stories.
In addition to writing their own version of their favorite fairy tale, students were invited to design fitting illustrations that represented their tale using a website called StoryJumper. This interactive site helps students to create their own hardcover or paperback books, allowing them to add scenic backgrounds to their pages, along with photos of characters and a wide selection of props to illustrate their text.
In total, the grades 5 and 6 students spent nearly 500 hours on their books. Teachers Howie Martin and Tony Schaafsma were impressed by the amount of effort that each student contributed to making sure their stories reflected both the writing skills they had learned up to that point, but also to make certain that the final product would reflect parts of their own character that had been infused into the story throughout the entire process. Each imaginatively written and beautifully illustrated fairy tale was published and printed in hard cover, to be sold by auction at Milton Christian School’s recent 10th Anniversary celebrations.
To see the students’ answer to the question, “I’m just a kid…how can I write a story?” check out this video compilation of the process, from start to finish!