Big Shanty Intermediate School held its second annual “Big Shanty Authors’ Evening” on April 1. More than 400 students and family members came to see and hear Big Shanty students from 19 classes perform their works. Presentations include: Book Making Stations with Wanda Wordhead , Cowboys on the Chisholm Trail, Picnic Poetry, Family Traditions, Douglas’ Poetry Diner, It’s A Zoo in Here, and many others.
The theme for this year’s event was “Writing Road Trip,” and what a trip it was. The presentations were both varied in content and use of technology. For example, “It’s a Zoo in Here” presented by third grade students from Ms. Swanger and Ms. Peacock’s classes featured PowerPoint presentations about different animals. During an overnight field trip at Zoo Atlanta their students photographed and learned about the animal they were most interested in. Upon returning to school, they researched the animal in more detail. Then wrote and typed their report and imported pictures into PowerPoint. Ms. Kennedy’s students authored a book entitled, “Wanda Wordhead and the Three Book Worms.” They illustrated it using scrapbook making materials. Finally, it was transformed into a podcast.
During their presentations, they taught participants how to make their own books using paper plates, paper bags, and other readily available materials. Another exciting presentation, Cowboys on the Chisholm Trail was performed outside, of course. There was a tent, camp fire, bales of hay to sit on, and vittles to taste while Jennifer Hellman’s fifth graders read their “cowboy diaries.”
Last year, fifth grade teacher, Betsey Kennedy, and media specialist, Barbara Powell-Schager, won the 2007 National Thomson-Gale TEAMS Award for their collaborative efforts creating Authors’ Night. The goal of last year’s and this year’s event was to improve student writing by creating an environment at Big Shanty that promotes and celebrates student authorship. Both Betsey and Barbara organized the event and encouraged and supported teachers to participate.