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Ormond Beach Observer Wednesday, May 1, 2013 5 years ago

Tomoka students become writers, publish books with big themes

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Tomoka Elementary students drew on global themes — like poverty, hunger and bullying — when writing, illustrating and publishing books.

BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER

Tomoka Elementary will host a Arts and Literacy Carnival May 2, where students will show off their writing, publishing and game-making skills.

With a grant awarded by the Crayola Company last fall, offered through the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the school’s fourth- and fifth-grade gifted students wrote, illustrated and published books.

The books had global themes, like poverty, hunger, sickness and bullying, and included stories about animals being separated from parents and being reunited and a family traveling to China to adopt a baby, among others.

They then used the books’ themes to create literacy-based games for younger children.

The games were designed and created using Stanford University’s Design Thinking process, and the Tomoka students and teachers reached out to the Riverside School in India, which teacher Monica Sherwin said is known for design and creativity methods, for more help to develop their games.

The Tomoka students, Sherwin said, built all the games themselves, with some help from teachers in acquiring supplies.

The overall project draws on topics the students have been involved with all year. They’ve spent time in the language arts — brainstorming, writing, editing and rewriting — and Volusia County schools have made a big anti-bullying push, Sherwin said.

Around the holidays, the students also learned about poverty and hunger when they raised funds to provide families with chickens and ducks.

During the carnival, the fourth and fifth grade students will lead Tomoka’s pre-K and kindergarten students as they play their homemade games.

The games will be permanently placed in Kindergarten classrooms at a later date.

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