DANBURY, Conn. -- A group of 15 students at Westside Middle School Academy in Danbury spent the school year on a “Middle School Writing Project,” in which they learned to write and recently had their work published in a literary journal.
Westside students worked with Education Connection and Dawn Bartz, the Westside global studies theme coach, one day a month during the entire school year. Students received lessons on writing technique from EC resident author Nikoo McGoldrick.
MSWP is an Education Connection inter-district grant program funded by the Connecticut State Department of Education. Seven other schools, including Thomaston High and Woodbury Middle School, participated.
Education Connection is one of Connecticut’s six Regional Service Centers and promotes the success of school districts and their communities.
WS student Val Chia, who published her “Cat and the Mouse” story, said the program taught her to add more details to her writing, and “it taught me new techniques of writing to make me a better writer,” she said.
Bartz said the project fit very well into the Global Studies Exploration program at Westside. The students engage constantly in project-based learning, which is the basis of the exploration class.
Students collaborate, share ideas and their work, apply their experiences and prior learning to new situations, and continually engage in using higher order thinking skills such as problem solving, analysis, critical thinking and creating.
“I was very excited to involve some of our students who have a passion for writing to meet with published authors for advice and ideas,” Bartz said.
“I want to keep the kids’ passion for writing ignited, and this is such a unique experience where our kids have this great opportunity to interact with professionals in the field, to practice writing and receive feedback, and to publish a piece of their work in a journal that is widely distributed in the state.”