They’re authors

Published 9:17 pm Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How many times have we listened to a child tell an amazing story?

Well, on Monday, Brewton Middle School students learned how to organize those words by author and consultant Rick Shelton.

As a Language Arts Specialist for the state department of education, Shelton gained firsthand experience reading and evaluating the Alabama Direct Assessment of Writing and is the author of two books. Now, he is putting that experience to use by offering workshops to students and faculty. On Monday, Brewton students and staff attended “Writing across the Curriculum.” It was his second visit to Brewton this year and was sponsored by the Troy University In-Service Center and local funds.

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Eighth and fifth grade students worked on persuasive writing while seventh graders explored expository writing and sixth, narrative writing, said BMS assistant principal Madelyn Cave.

“Each of these modes corresponds to the type of writing expected on the ACT Aspire test given in the spring,” Cave said. “What we loved was that (Shelton) told them that the greatest thing about our school was that all of our students are different.  He then took the opportunity to challenge all of our students not to bully and to take care of each other because we are a family.

“He celebrated all of our differences before he ever began working with the kids on their writing,” she said. “That was a powerful way for him to set the tone of the day and provide a safe place to write and share. “

She said Shelton used humor to keep the students engaged and asked for samples from the day’s exercise.

“Students all got started on a piece of writing that they will take back to their classroom teachers and complete,” Cave said. “Mr. Shelton has asked that we send him some of the writing samples.  By doing this, they have an authentic audience to read their published pieces.  The students went away feeling successful and enjoyed learning.”

Cave said students were enthralled during the exercise.

“No one groaned or complained when he told them to write,” she said. “You could have heard a pin drop when he gave them a task.  It was an incredible experience for our students, and I can’t wait to see it carry over into the classrooms.”