Sixth grade fairy-tale authors chosen to share their stories with Pelham second graders

Thirty sixth grade students rushed out of their first period classes at Pelham Middle School on March 21 to head back to their alma maters. These students were selected to read to the second graders at the four Pelham elementary schools fairy tales the sixth graders had written in their English classes.

The sixth graders put in a lot of work before they even got to read to the younger students. They had to learn the elements of a fairy tale and research their countries of choice.

The hardest part of the fairy tale unit would be gathering the research from the databases, ” said PMS English teacher Michele Weyant. “Students must pick and choose which research is relevant to use in their story… They must find research that works together (food, religion, government, social life, etc.). If students just pick random research, they have a hard time putting it all together in a story at the end.”

Once the students wrote their stories, they put together a book on a website called Story Jumper. A board of PMS teachers had the hard job of selecting thirty students to travel back to their elementary schools to read their stories aloud to the second graders as part of the program, which was supported with a grant from the Pelham Education Foundation.

Students were excited to see their old teachers. It was an opportunity to see how far they’ve come, and an opportunity for the second graders to see how far they’ll go.

“This experience showed me how much we have grown in only four years,” Claire Van Praagh said after visiting Colonial. “Reading to the second graders made me feel good that my writing could set an example for a younger kid.”

“I thought the trip was really cool because you got to give second graders a taste of what it is like as a sixth grader writing an original story,” said Liam Ginsburg. “When I was in second grade, I would’ve loved to have the opportunity, and I’m so glad that we got the honor to give it to them.”

Weyant said the second-grade teachers were thrilled. “The elementary teachers are so happy to see their (former) students all grown up and being recognized as accomplished writers. It takes years of working with students to get them to develop their writing, so this visit acknowledges both the students and their elementary teachers.”

During the walks back from the elementary schools to the middle school, all of the students shared their encounters with the second graders.

One of Weyant’s favorite memories was when a second grader misunderstood the project. “When I explained we would be reading fairy tales from all over the world, the child got upset and raised his hand in panic. ¬†When I called on him he said, ‘But I only speak and read in English!'”