View Full Version : East Bay Third Grade Teacher Sparks Students' Interest in Writing By Having Them Help Edit His Children's Book

03-11-2011, 09:24 AM
This from The Bay Citizen (http://www.baycitizen.org/books/story/3rd-graders-job-editing-teachers-book/) by Grace Rubenstein:
Besides finishing their assignments and playing nicely with others, the third graders in Joe Imwalle’s classroom have another important job: They are front-line editors of their teacher’s book.

Imwalle is writing his first children’s book, “Un-conquering Uncle Troy.” Each time he finishes a chapter, he takes it to his 22 critics, who gather on the checkered carpet in Room 45 at Learning Without Limits, a public elementary school in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland. They listen with curiosity as he reads aloud. Then he asks them: “Is anything boring here? What do you like? What are your ideas?”

It's time Imwalle could spend on grammar drills. Yet he has found that this small investment of time — and artistic vulnerability — has generated a powerful change in his classroom.

For these 15 minutes every week or two, the children have a chance to soak up Imwalle’s passion for writing. They see that creative writing requires hard work, revision and risk — a risk that their own teacher is willing to take. And they discover that contrary to the usual order of things, they have something to teach him.

“It really has gotten them excited about writing,” said Imwalle, 32, who lives in Oakland. “Seeing their teacher try to do it brings writing closer to home. It bridges the gap between published novels they see in the library and the idea that they come from a person and a process.”

Plus, their responses have helped shape his writing style, and some of their ideas have made their way into his novel’s plot.

“We think it’s good for him because he’s doing something he likes to do,” said Rosmeri, 10. “And by doing something he likes to do, he’s teaching us to do it, too.”

In the language of third-grade writing criticism, Imwalle said, rapt attention and giggles are good signs, while squirrelly behavior indicates that Alex is getting too wordy.

The students knew that immediately after the reading from “Un-conquering Uncle Troy,” they would get time for their own creative writing. Maya and Beyda were working together on a two-part story about a ghost named Logen. Jacob had the beginnings of a tale called “The Teased Boy,” written in rhyme.

read more>> (http://www.baycitizen.org/books/story/3rd-graders-job-editing-teachers-book/)