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Inspiring Writers at Thompson Creek Elementary School

Two female students sit at a computer

How do you motivate and engage students in the writing process? The answer in Grade 8 at Thompson Creek Elementary School is to give them a real purpose for their writing.

Mrs. Dykstra’s Grade 8 class has been writing newspaper articles about exciting events happening around the school this year, with articles researched and written by the students, and then posted on the school’s website. Having their work go through this process of creation to the finished published piece online has given students a goal and direction for their writing.

“I was looking for an opportunity to inspire and engage my students by giving them a real-life purpose for writing,” explains Dykstra. “This gives them a sense of the investigative process involved in finding stories as well as a better understanding of the writing and editing process before the final product is posted on the website.”

So far, students have reported on the donation of trees from Home Hardware's Dunnville location and Trees Canada, the school’s Sew Cool Club, and an exciting learning activity in one class called Be the Teacher.

“It feels like my writing really matters,” said Grade 8 student Erica about the feeling of having her work published. “I’m doing something that other people are going to read and hear about.”

Another student echoes this: “I love doing this because it’s not an assignment, and we get more freedom with our writing,” said Brooklyn. “I’m proud of my writing, and that people who read my articles will know my name and comment on my writing now.”

Both students listed author J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter book series as a major source of inspiration.

Setting high expectations and providing learning opportunities such as this exercise in literacy are in line with Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan and its Achievement indicator. By giving students a real purpose for their writing, it illustrates to them that Success for Every Student is achievable, and what they have to say matters.

Look for the latest news, reported by students, on Thompson Creek Elementary School’s website.