“Did we get the journals back yet? When do we get to write again?”
A collaboration of writing has been a great success between two campuses and two age groups this year. Saundra Wimberley’s first graders at Crestview Elementary and Morgan Dixon’s seventh graders from Frenship Middle School began writing to each other in “Buddy Journals” back in September. Like pen pals, each member of Mrs. Wimberley’s class began by writing to his or her new buddy in a spiral notebook. These were then delivered to the FMS seventh graders. Each student at FMS chose a Crestview buddy and began writing back. The teachers had children write back and forth at least twice a month, and teachers shared a journal as well.
With every writing, students of each age had to either learn or remember how to write in correct letter form. Creating an authentic writing experience for all the students was a main goal of both teachers. When a child knew someone would need to read his or her writing, the process became much more intense and purposeful. Children wrote in class but also took the journals home to have family input for suggestions on subjects and some encouragement.
Topics of interest varied from the simple topics of favorite colors, favorite sports, and hair color to more interesting and obscure topics throughout the year.
When would the students finally meet? Since travel to another campus would be difficult, they began sharing videos made for each other. The Crestview crew shared a video of their class play. FMS students then wrote poems and read them for their buddies. It all became much more realistic though when they were able to communicate via ITV. The children were able to greet each other and talk, asking questions and sharing what their class had been doing lately.
Mrs. Wimberley read the group a favorite book of her class to the very attentive seventh graders and everyone laughed. When a first grader asked the older children about a favorite song, they quickly began singing “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen. The whole group passionately and spontaneously sang the chorus of the song together.
Collaboration was certainly a success this year at FMS and Crestview. Thanks to Mrs. Wimberley at Crestview and Mrs. Dixon at FMS for their leadership in this endeavor.