Western Springs District 101 recognizes writings
Updated: July 3, 2012 10:17AM
Each year, elementary school teachers everywhere give students writing assignments. As would be expected, students turn these assignments in, teachers read them and a grade is given.
But what happens when a teacher reads a student’s work that is so extraordinary or outstanding that it deserves more than just a grade?
In Western Springs School District 101, such writing assignments are collected and considered for publication in an annual anthology.
This year, for example, the teachers of District 101 collected more than 150 writing assignments from students in first through eighth grades. Then, an Anthology Committee of teachers and other staff members gather for a day, read the students’ work that has been collected and chose the best pieces.
“We have different ways of celebrating math accomplishments with kids and athletic accomplishments,” said Rachel Corrough, assistant principal at McClure Junior High School and chairperson of the Anthology Committee. “This is one way to recognize kids that excel in the area of writing.”
Corrough said teachers chose and saved examples of student-writing they felt is high quality “and kind of above and beyond,” Corrough said.
Some teachers tell students that writing assignments could potentially be chosen for the anthology.
“We just kind of stress best effort and good writing across the board,” Corrough said.
The committee chooses both poetry and prose for inclusion in the anthology. The writings are picked based on writing style, grammar, spelling and content.
Corrough said committee members are generally in agreement about the writing assignments that make the final cut.
“You look at (a student’s work) and you think, ‘Wow, I can’t believe somebody in this grade level could write like this,” Corrough said.
This year, from the hundreds of writing assignments given out and the more than 150 collected for the committee’s consideration, only 39 were chosen.
“They really are exceptional works,” Corrough said.
The students whose writings were selected for the anthology were invited to attend the district’s regular Board of Education meeting Monday.
“(The) kids were brought to the board and recognized and a lot of parents showed up,” said district superintendent Brian Barnhart.
The students each received an edition of the anthology — which was decorated with artwork by two students. In addition to the honor of being in the anthology, the students will also receive certificates.
Some of the students’ writing was deemed exemplary by the Anthology Committee. Those students received a medal.
One would think the anthology would have more works from students in higher grades, given that the students have had more years of writing experience. Such an assumption, however, is wrong, Corrough said.
“It’s pretty evenly distributed amongst the different grade levels,” she said. “For instance, this year they only had one eighth-grade selection chosen; and from first grade, they had four.”