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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Nottingham Knight Writer Exemplary Project

Knight Writer Heading

2011-2012

 
PURPOSE AND VISION:

Nottingham's Exemplary Writing Project was carefully designed to develop the writing skills of young authors through the power of publication. When young writers know their words will be shared by an audience, they are motivated to do their best work. Over the years, the Nottingham Exemplary Writing Project has produced our literary magazine, The Nottingham Knight Writer, in a variety of formats. It has been produced as quarterly magazines, as a school-wide publication, as grade level magazines, and classroom booklets. We have printed it with a variety of bindings, distributed it in CD format, and posted it online at our website. This year we are embarking on a new format which will empower our young writers to use technology and give them the opportunity to publish several times throughout the year. On the following grade level pages you will see a listing of Nottingham classes in grades 1-5.

Fifth GradeFourth GradeThird GradeSecond GradeFirst Grade

On each web page, you will see individual names posted. Underlined names will open into a new window, displaying a broadside sheet of student work. After producing a writing piece they would like to share, students were given a template to type, design, and illustrate their own personal page. Upon approval by a teacher, the work was posted online in PDF format which may be printed for display at home and at school. Students have been encouraged to create and post multiple pieces throughout the school year. We are excited to give our students a more immediate opportunity to publish than is possible in a printed magazine which only allows one piece per child and takes months before it is ready for an audience. We hope that the excitement of seeing their work available for others to read on our website, shortly after completion, will be a powerful motivator, encouraging our young authors to develop their skills as effective writers and technology users.

At the end of the year, favorite pieces will be combined into grade level anthologies and printed for classroom reading. Copies will also be made available for the library, the front office, and APS administrators. These grade level anthologies will be posted online and available for families to view and print at home. In addition, students who publish multiple pieces throughout the year will be given a template for combining their work into an individual booklet. Thanks to the generosity of the Nottingham PTA, we now have the capability to do a limited amount of in-house publishing. Broadsides of student writing will be posted throughout the school and saved in writing portfolios. 

At Nottingham Elementary, we employ two writing curriculums. Grades 2-5 use Being a Writer, in which students explore a wide variety of literary genres including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, fantasy, and personal narrative. Students are encouraged to use sensory details and strong vocabulary in their writing. Carefully selected picture books are read aloud for inspiration. Many students enjoy using these picture books as writing models to create stories with similar patterns or themes.

First grade and kindergarten students follow a yearlong curriculum, Units of Study for Primary Writing, developed by Lucy Calkins. Personal narratives in which students write about life experiences are an integral part of writing workshop. When students write about their own lives, they can use memories for a sturdy reservoir of ideas and practice the important concept of chronological order. Personal narratives also produce high-interest reading material. Students enjoy reading their own stories and those of their classmates. First graders are ready to write and post individual stories in the spring. Kindergarten students, however, will produce classroom booklets which will be available online towards the end of the year.

As you read, remember this is student work. Please note that imperfections are part of the process and our goal is to celebrate the growth and development of young writers. In our society, which is increasingly dependent on technology, the ability to communicate thoughts and ideas in writing is an absolutely essential skill. We hope you will help us by applauding our students' efforts and encouraging them to reach their full potential.

The Nottingham Exemplary Project is supported by Arlington Public Schools and the Nottingham PTA. It is coordinated by Jacqueline Jules, an award-winning children's author and poet. To contact the coordinator, please visit here.