By Nancy Deminger, Teacher, Windsor Secondary, and Linda Deminger, Teacher, Larson Elementary
When students in Nancy Deminger's English class at Windsor Secondary School recently sat down to write short stories, they had a particular audience in mind. Each student was tasked with writing a story about a specific grade 2 or grade 3 student from Larson Elementary School. The elementary school students provided short biographies to the secondary school students, who then had to take those bios and translate them into children's fiction stories.
"The grade 12 stories are heartfelt, imaginative, and fun," said Nancy Deminger, teacher, Windsor Secondary.
Adding depth to the project, once the stories are written they are then provided to the grade 2 and 3 students. The young students then illustrate the stories.
"I'm a terrible artist, and my elementary school partner is a way better artist than me. So our story turned out really great," said Colby, student, Windsor Secondary.
This year was the 20th year that Nancy and Linda, who are also sisters, have undertaken this collaborative writing project.
"The stories create an instant friendship bond between the partners. This activity has proven over the years to be very beneficial for both age groups," said Linda Deminger, teacher, Larson Elementary.
Over the years, parents of past participants continue to talk to the teachers about this project and its positive impact on their children. Many of the younger students hold onto their stories for years to come. Past students of Linda's tell her how the stories and visits have meant a great deal to them.
"I am amazed at the stories that are created by the seniors based on the elementary student bios, then illustrated by the grade 2s. Such an incredible experience for all of the students involved," said Brenda Bell, principal, Windsor Secondary.
At the end of the project, the two classes come together at Windsor Secondary to share their stories, participate in an art activity, go on tour of the high school, and have lunch together.
"The school is big!" said Kate, student, Larson Elementary.
"It has really been a lot of fun working with the kids," said Tanner, student, Windsor Secondary. "I like their energy."