High school authors share work

Published 9:26 am Thursday, May 4, 2017

By Lynn Wisecarver

Special to the Enterprise

Kindergarten and first grade students at Mocksville Elementary School met Davie High School student authors April 13.

The authors had written, illustrated and published four children’s versions of the Miguel deCervantes’ classic Don Quixote.

Sixteen members of Lynn Wisecarver’s English II Honors STEM class collaborated in groups of four to retell the tale of Don Quixote and his adventures. The project required each group to read, analyze and create a book on the K/1 reading level. The assignment culminated with the authors reading their books to K/1 classes.

“When my group walked into our first classroom, all of the kids stopped what they were doing and made a ‘Wow’ face. Their eyes followed us all the way to the front of the room, and some of them were even screaming with joy. Some of them kept commenting on how tall we were. All of the kids hugged us and never stopped smiling,” Abbe Hurt said.

After the students read and analyzed Don Quixote, the writing project took almost two weeks to complete. They had to create a cover and illustrations for each page in their 32-page books.  In addition, they had to fully develop plot and utilize three literary devices.

“After we finished reading our book, we asked the kids if they had any questions. Almost every time they asked if we wrote the book. It felt so good to say, ‘Yes, we wrote it just for you guys’. It felt even better seeing the smiles on their faces,” Lauralynn Ellis said.

The day before the class travelled to MES they practiced their book reads to each other and made last minute adjustments for the best delivery. They worked on developing the reading schedule to ensure that they would be able to visit all of the K/1 classrooms.

For some students, the day provided an opportunity to revisit a former school and favorite teacher.

“My experience going to MES was amazing.  I went to Mocksville as a student, and I felt like a little kid again. I got to see one of my favorite teachers, Mrs. Rosier, who is the best. We even read in her room,” Richard Baltazar said.

It was difficult to determine who had more fun and got more out of the experience: the high school students or the elementary students.

“This was a great day. First, we had Crazy Sock Day, then an Easter egg hunt, and we got to listen to the story,” kindergarten student Carter Goforth said.

For some high school students, the project left a lasting impression.

“I really enjoyed being able to read with these kids but also being able to impact them. I think, in some ways, they impacted me more than anything,” Sydney Smith said.

For one high school student, the project served to lead her down a possible career path.

“Going into the kindergarten and first grade classes showed me just how fulfilling working with children can be. I have always had the dream of being a teacher, but I never even thought of teaching younger kids, but this has changed my mind. I went home and told my dad that I would be an awesome kindergarten teacher,” Paige Carter said.

The K/1 teachers were impressed with the student authored books as well as the interaction between the high school and elementary school students.

“This was such a good idea to have these students come here and do this.  They have learned so much and developed great skills, such as developing their schedules for rotating through each classroom. I hope that we can do this kind of project again,” Janell Yount, kindergarten teacher, said.