Eighth grade classes at Hoffman Middle School spent the semester working to publish “Tales From the Nest: Where Mysteries, Legends and Tales Swarm,” a collection of stories contributed by students.
The campus held a release party on April 19. Students invited guests and presented the program. The young authors spoke about the works and the project. Judges also announced the top three writing winners.
Under the supervision of teacher Ashley Schlafly, her classes studied different genres. They then wrote in the literary genre they preferred. The published works include children’s, horror, action and romance.
Schlafly enjoyed seeing students’ styles in their works.
“Each student’s words give you a glimpse into his or her personality and thinking,” said Schlafly. “Each story is as individual as each student.”
Hoffman is an International Baccalaureate school. The campus offers the Middle Years Program. Aldine ISD offers the entire IB continuum: Primary Years Program, Middle Years Program and Diploma Program.
The IB program prepares students for critical thinking and college-level work. A major focus calls for students to express themselves through writing. IB classes and assessments tend to involve more research, writing, and hands-on evaluation.
Schlafly devised the writing project. She developed lessons and activities that would enhance higher-order thinking skills. Schlafly also sought to create a learning community that is student-centered and student-driven. Her intent was to anchor the project with real world experiences.
“I wanted to create a project that motivated students to become writers,” said Schlafly. “I also wanted to build a learning community among students and staff.”
Schlafly needed help to make the project a reality. She applied and received a grant from Aldine Education Foundation.
After learning about different literary genres. They wrote and edited stories from several genres. Each student then selected a genre they enjoyed the most. Students generated ideas and created their own original, multi-layered stories.
The process involved individual work and collaborative teamwork. Students edited their own writing and the work of others. They edited for tone, characterization, organization, and completed a final draft.
Campus staff and invited guests comprised the six-judge panel. They read the students final drafts and awarded the top three stories.
“The students, staff and I are grateful to the Aldine Education Foundation,” said Schlafly. “We could not have done this project without the Foundation‘s support.”
Director of Written Communication & Spanish Media
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