BANTA – A new group of authors have emerged from the Banta Elementary School after 21 students took pencil to paper to create their own published book of stories.
The month-long project began in October in the third and fourth grade classroom of Teacher Linda Duchnick. The students were given step-by-step instruction on creating their own story that addressed how to get the reader interested, creating a problem for the characters and resolving the problem by the end of the one page story. In addition to the writing, the students also had to create illustrations that would accompany their story.
Duchnick, a published author herself, has done similar student projects over the course of her extensive teaching career, but this was the first time she decided to have the stories published in a book.
“I write to relax,” she said, and when she worked on the writing project with her students she saw their “eyes light up” as they developed their own stories.
“Writing is not their favorite thing, but I saw a quantum shift in their writing and reading,” she said. “I’m very proud of them.”
The subject of their stories was to be about any animal of their choosing, including real and fictional animals.
Third grader Izaiah Tiru wrote about his favorite animal, dragons, for his story “Stuck in the Dragon World.”
“The story was hard, but not too hard,” he said. “My favorite part was drawing. I like to draw. It was a fun project. I’m excited to see the story.”
On Dec. 7 the students were given their first opportunity to see their creations in a book as their teacher handed each of them a copy. Their faces lit up as they opened the book and eagerly began flipping the pages to try and find their own story and drawing, but not before excitedly announcing the discovery of a friend’s story first.
“It was very fun, interesting and creative,” said third grader Madison Hunsinger, whose story was about two friends playing tag that involved an owl and a tiger shark. “I made up stories before. I was surprised I drew the owl very good.”
Fourth grader Brooklyn Laverne said she too enjoyed using her imagination. She said she based her story on a dream she had about a magical silver fox. “I want to be a writer,” she said. “It was really fun.”
The story entitled “Leo and the Lion” was the creation of fourth grader Barron Brossard. His story focused on a boy named Leo who was bullied until he met a lion in the woods who scared the bullies away.
“My favorite part was writing and telling the story about it,” he said. It was his first time seeing his name published in a book and he described the moment as being “pretty cool.”
Using the student publishing kit from Studentreasures Publishing, Duchnick gathered all of their stories and accompanying illustrations. She then sent the edited pieces off to the publishing company to create both hard and soft cover editions of their book entitled “Animal Adventures.”
“They’re a great bunch of kids,” she said. “They’re excited and learned so much. They were excited to have the book published. It really came out well. I’m sure to do it every year from now on. It was a great hit.”