Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kids writing for pleasure and for purpose: The Learning Partnership's Entrepreneurial Adventure program

A teacher/parent recently asked me if I'd be willing to talk with her son about writing books. It seems Turner has written his first book and wants to know how to go about getting it published.  He's in Grade 1.

So I told her I'd be happy to discuss his options, but it's really quite simple: revise and rework it until it's the best it can be, research suitable publishers, read their submission guidelines, and send it off.

So what if the author hasn't left primary school yet? Go Turner, say I.

All writers want to see their words in print. We all see ourselves at the top of our craft, piles of books flying off the shelves of bookstores, reviews and interviews on the Books pages of newspapers. That's the glam side of writing.

But the less glamourous side is the effort it takes to think, write, revise, and slog your way through a writing project. Kids like Turner make me smile: for them it's the pure pleasure of expressing themselves by putting words on a page. "Pure" is the operative word.

And if that pleasure extends to purposefulness, who can resist? Consider the grade 5/6 students at Springvale Elementary School in Halifax. Under the direction of their teacher, Valerie Dockendorff, the kids have written What If? (for sale here by Nimbus Publishing imprint, Acorn Press), a book of hope that addresses the question: What if the world's problems didn't exist?

This project was entered in the recent BMO Financial Group "Entrepreneurial Adventure" program, along with innovative, charity-based school projects from across the country. Young writers exploring their creativity and putting it towards good works: it doesn't get any better.


Read more about the Entrepreneurial Adventure program at The Learning Partnership. Here's a blurb from The Learning Partnership's press release about the 2011 BMO Financial Group's national student innovation awards:

Word by Word
Springvale Elementary School, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Students: Grades five/six
Teacher: Valerie Dockendorff
Business partner: Troy Yeo, CA, Accountant Staffing

The 18 grade five/six students at Springvale wanted to raise awareness about problems faced by kids all over the world and they wanted to do this by imagining what it would be like if the problem didn’t exist! In Social Studies, the students had been learning about social justice, diversity and global cultures. They’d also been learning about determining the impact kids have – or don’t have – on important local and global issues as well as significant decision making. The student-driven decision to create a book as their venture got its inspiration from an earlier class visit by an author/illustrator. Their book’s title is What if … The students painted beautiful illustrations demonstrating what a perfect world would look like if the problems mentioned didn’t exist. Messages of hope, positive images and concrete ways to take action – all created by the kids – are incorporated in What if … ,  to hopefully change people’s actions...Word by Word. The book has been published by Acorn Press, selling, for $9.95.

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