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Goal: If I receive this grant, it will be my sixth time doing this project. (We first did this project in spring of 2019.)

My goals for my Creative Writers are these:

To use the writing process to develop, write, revise, proofread, illustrate, and publish children’s books for a real audience, and then to deliver them to that audience – selected first graders at Blue Lake Elementary. This process encompasses many skills, and requires a high degree of time management, creativity, and self-motivation. Unlike most writing done in school, this writing will be for a real audience - the first grader they are writing for. It is often said "the best way to learn is to teach it yourself". By allowing students to write, publish, and read their book to an elementary student...they are effectively teaching that student their story. It also offers a chance for students to give back to a school they may have attended and to encourage the humanitarian connection between writing and education. The price of books has come down, so I would like to buy additional books for the Early Childhood Development children who attend the “Bullpups” program at DeLand High School as well.



For the past five years, I have had Art students involved in contributing illustrations to some of these books. My goals for these art students are to 1. Give them a chance to collaborate with a writer on an actual published project for a real audience; 2. Help them learn about working on an art project with deadlines; 3. Develop art work from a writer’s words.



My goals for the first graders are these:

Students will develop their love of reading. These students will have a book written especially for them, and this will encourage them to read it. It will be based on their interests and preferences and it will be something they can bring home and keep. Students will be able to use their reading skills to analyze and discuss their books. The creative writing students will using the literary elements of plot, characterization, setting, themes, and irony in creating their stories, so those are elements the first grade students can draw back out of the books.

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Readers Make Writers: High Schoolers Write Children's Books for 1st Graders

grant photo
School:
DeLand High School 
Subject:
Other 
Teacher:
David Finkle 
 
Amanda Simmons, Media Specialist at Blue Lake Elem.; Kristan Kinsella, Art teacher at DeLand High 
Students Impacted:
50 
Grade:
9-12 
Date:
September 4, 2023

Investor

Thank you to the following investor for funding this grant.

 

FUTURES Foundation - $1,000.00

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Impact to My Classroom

# of Students Impacted: 55

FUTURES IMPACT REPORT

Writers Make Readers Year 7: DeLand High School Creative Writers Author Children’s Books for Budding Readers at Blue Lake Elementary

Schools: DeLand High School/Blue Lake Elementary School

 

Subject: Creative Writing  

Teacher: David Finkle, English Teacher, DeLand High

 

This is my 7th year doing this children’s book project, and I am still learning how to improve it. However, by sheer numbers, it has been a huge success. In seven school years, up to this one (and including a pandemic year!) my students have published about 115 books! (Some of my records have vanished from my computer, and Lulu doesn’t maintain invoices on its website past 5 years.)

 

This year 20 books were completed. It would have been more, most likely, but some students were moved out of the Creative Writing class for credit retrieval at the second semester, which put a few projects on permanent hold. Even so, two students who had left the class still managed to bring their books to fruition with the help of their Art student illustrators! I had to ask our SAC committee at DeLand High School for $600 more in funding because, like last year, there were so many books!

 

I asked my students to reflect on the experience. Here are some of their comments!

 

“Writing/illustrating the children’s books as been of my favorite high school experiences. It feels like a very hands on experience for what it’s like to create a children’s book, working with deadlines and collaborating with others, as well as considering language that’s appropriate for the intended audience. I personally learned how to use both pictures and words to tell a story; when to omit things from the text that can be communicated with the illustrations. I also learned to pace myself to meet deadlines.” - Bec Colpack, who this year wrote and illustrated their own book and illustrated another writing teams book!

 

“This project helped me to find joy in writing. Often times projects for school fall into the same pattern of just getting it done so you can get a grade, but this project was not like that. I got to do it for someone, which was a big motivator for getting it done. It helped me learn to push through on my writing when I would normally just scrap the whole thing.” - Maddie Buck, second year CW student

 

“The top three things I learned the most were writing for a specific audience, using words and pictures, and collaborating with an artist

-       Miliyah Schley, who joined the class in January and fast tracked her book to be done and ready for illustrations in less than two weeks!

 

“In the process of writing my children’s book, I learned a lot about the publishing process and how to better write my own stories. I also learned more about how to write books specifically for younger children…” – Lexi Schwartz

 

There were other comments in their reflections, much in the same vain. There were 25 students who participated in writing the books, some in Teams, some solo. We had 10 different illustrators – some art students, some students from my 9th grade classes. 20 students will be receiving books, for a total of 55 student involved and impacted.

 

Our book hand-off event will be on May 10th, and I will have an addendum to this report after the event itself.

 

My plans for next year include ways to streamline the process to make the project just as beneficial, yet take up less of the school year. We will start the process early in the year, by mid-September if possible. We will “save” one first grader to be the student we write a book for as a group so that we can model the writing process out loud and I will illustrate it in front of the class on illustration day to model the illustration process using a document camera. Once students have written their books, we will have “Illustration Day” in the Media Center or some other location on campus. This will be an in-school field study to put a huge investment of time into getting as many illustrations done as possible in one day. My plan is to have a tighter schedule and have the books done by December so that we can deliver the books before the holidays!

 

As always, thanks to FUTURES for funding this project. I sorted through all of the previous years’ books to make room for the new books (which have been shipped!) and I was struck by the originality and creativity of the students’ work. I was also shocked to discover how many books we have published together! Ninety-three books (soon to be 113!) is nothing to sneeze at!

 

I will upload photos of the book event at a later date!

 

Original Grant Overview

Goal

Goal: If I receive this grant, it will be my sixth time doing this project. (We first did this project in spring of 2019.)

My goals for my Creative Writers are these:

To use the writing process to develop, write, revise, proofread, illustrate, and publish children’s books for a real audience, and then to deliver them to that audience – selected first graders at Blue Lake Elementary. This process encompasses many skills, and requires a high degree of time management, creativity, and self-motivation. Unlike most writing done in school, this writing will be for a real audience - the first grader they are writing for. It is often said "the best way to learn is to teach it yourself". By allowing students to write, publish, and read their book to an elementary student...they are effectively teaching that student their story. It also offers a chance for students to give back to a school they may have attended and to encourage the humanitarian connection between writing and education. The price of books has come down, so I would like to buy additional books for the Early Childhood Development children who attend the “Bullpups” program at DeLand High School as well.



For the past five years, I have had Art students involved in contributing illustrations to some of these books. My goals for these art students are to 1. Give them a chance to collaborate with a writer on an actual published project for a real audience; 2. Help them learn about working on an art project with deadlines; 3. Develop art work from a writer’s words.



My goals for the first graders are these:

Students will develop their love of reading. These students will have a book written especially for them, and this will encourage them to read it. It will be based on their interests and preferences and it will be something they can bring home and keep. Students will be able to use their reading skills to analyze and discuss their books. The creative writing students will using the literary elements of plot, characterization, setting, themes, and irony in creating their stories, so those are elements the first grade students can draw back out of the books.  

 

What will be done with my students

Students at Blue Lake Elementary School will be surveyed about their interests during their media time to assist with determination of book topics. Based on the results of the interest surveys, students in Creative Writing classes at DeLand High School will spend a couple of months class writing and illustrating their own Children's book (though some may have help from an illustrator from the Art class). I will then publish five copies of each book through the self-publishing website lulu.com:

One copy for the author to keep, a second copy to be delivered in person to a first-grade student at Blue Lake Elementary School, a third for the Early Childhood classroom; a forth for the Blue Lake Elementary Media Center; a fifth for the Creative Writing classroom; a possible sixth copy would go to any illustrators involved.

After the books are published, high school students will take a field study to Blue Lake Elementary. There, they will meet the elementary student they wrote for, read the book to the student one-on-one, and discuss the book with them. Authors will sign their creations and share in a celebration at Blue Lake Elementary School. Emphasis will be placed on narrative structure, characterization, elements of morality/fable, and audience consideration with implantation of grade-level appropriate vocabulary.

The following B.E.S.T. Standards will be addressed:

ELA.12.C.1.2: Write complex narratives using appropriate techniques to establish multiple perspectives and convey universal themes. (Narrative Writing is a type of composition that tells a story, the elements of which may be fiction or
nonfiction. Narration of the story may take various forms (first, second, third person, etc.). The story events
may be presented sequentially or in an order that stimulates reader interest. Narrative writing includes the
writer’s use of genre-specific elements, including but not limited to: characterization through dialogue,
vivid description, sensory details, foreshadowing, and flashback.)

ELA.12.C.1.5: Improve writing by considering feedback from adults, peers, and/or online editing tools, revising to enhance purpose, clarity, structure, and style.ELA.12.C.3.1: Follow the rules of standard English grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling appropriate to grade level.

ELA.12.C.5.2: Create, publish, and share multimedia texts through a variety of digital formats. (Although the final product will be a hard-copy, the production process will be digital).
Because students will be reading each other’s drafts and final books and discussing them on multiple levels, and because they will be discussing the books with the first-grade students, the following reading standards will also be practiced during the process:

For first grade:
ELA.1.R.1.1: Identify and describe the main story elements in a story.ELA.1.R.1.2: Identify and explain the moral of a story.ELA.1.R.1.3: Explain who is telling the story using context clues.
For high-schoolers:
ELA.12.R.1.1: Evaluate how key elements enhance or add layers of meaning and/or style in a literary text and explain the functional significance of those elements in interpreting the text.ELA.12.R.1.2: Analyze two or more themes and evaluate their development throughout a
literary text.

ELA.12.R.1.3: Evaluate the development of character perspective, including conflicting perspectives.  

 

Benefits to my students

This project encourages purposeful writing for an intended audience. For creative writing students, this will be an exercise in writing authentically and actually publishing for a real audience. Their books will also be on permanent display in the Blue Lake Library.

For the Blue Lake students, they get something few children get – a book written especially for them, a book they can keep. There are intangible benefits as well – these students get to have an older student as a role model for writing, and a memento of the experience – the book written for them.

By providing a real-life reader for the high school creative writers, their work will merit more attention and care. Alternatively, the younger elementary students will benefit from the one-on-one reading and personalized piece of literature. Both writer and reader will likely gain an appreciation for children's literature and acquire a positive association with reading and writing.  

 

Budget Narrative

I use the Lulu.com publishing platform to create the books. A full-color, hard cover book, depending upon the length costs anywhere from 10 to 15 dollars. Twenty books times five copies (one for the author, one for the student, one for the Blue Lake library, one for Mr. Finkle’s classroom collection to be used as examples) adds up to somewhere just over $1,000 – most likely more. We completed 23 of a potential 25 books last year, so we had to ask for an additional $600 from DeLand High’s SAC. I don’t know the cost of the books exactly until they are completed: page count, black and white vs. color printing determine the price of each book. If I go over my grant amount, I will also ask for SAC funds to supplement this grant, as I did last year.  

 

Items

# Item Cost
  Total: $1,000.00

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Special Thanks to Our Presenting Partners

FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools

Heart of Volusia, Inc.

Duke-Energy

Florida Health Care Plans & Florida Blue

Florida Power & Light Company

Rue & Ziffra

Latitude Margaritaville

Minto Communities

Paul & Dr. Rosaria Upchurch

Daytona International Speedway

Cobb Cole

Launch Credit Union

JPB Consulting Group