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    Eighth grade student Gretchen Alewel created a turf-war style board game based on “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton at the Fannin County Middle School’s Reading Fair, April 11. Reading students throughout the school created projects based on the books they read in class.
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    Fannin County Middle School student Peyton Nelson holds up the April 10 edition of The News Observer. Her and her fellow reading students in Brittany Newton’s class read “The House of the Scorpion” by Nancy Farmer. Nelson’s group chose to write articles inspired by the events and details of the book to create their own newspaper.
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    The class of reading teacher Kelly Hulsey, right, read “The Watsons Go to Birmingham” by Christopher Paul Curtis. Students then created projects ranging from model representations to dioramas to artwork to board games, demonstrating what they learned by reading the book. Shown from, front, left, is Charlie Hooper; back, Ashlynn Patterson, Lukas Carter, Tamra Couch, Adrian Derreberry, Bristol Hughes and Hope Hill.
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    Fannin County Middle School students Bristol Hughes and Adrian Derreberry play the board game their group made based on “The Watsons Go to Birmingham” by Christopher Paul Curtis. Students showcased their projects during the school’s reading fair, April 11.

Reading Fair shows off creativity

Fannin County Middle School reading students expressed their creativity and comprehension of the stories they’ve read in class at the school’s reading fair, April 11.

Projects included sketches, newspapers, board games, restaurant or house models, PowerPoint presentations, written fan fiction and more.

The idea to allow students alternative methods to demonstrate knowledge and connection to reading material was a group effort said reading teacher Brittany Newton. 

Instead of the traditional written book report, FCMS students are sometimes able to choose from a variety of options to showcase their comprehension of the books they’ve read in class. 

Newton said some students have brought their own ideas for projects to them. “It’s a way for kids to make connections with the text they’ve read, in a way that excites them. It allows them to really show what they’ve learned from the book,” Newton said.

The eighth grade class read coming-of-age novel “The Outsiders” by S. E. Hinton and created projects based on that book. Student Tia Adcox said her favorite character was Johnny and that she liked how the story expressed everyone’s feelings. “I like that when they were younger and their parents died, they all stuck together as one family,” she said.

When asked if she could see a resemblance in students at school today, Adcox said, “Yes. Some people are rich and some people don’t have money to pay for clothes. Like with the Greasers and the Soc – the Soc are like the rich kids at this school and their are some poor people who don’t have money – that’s like the Greasers.”

Fellow student Gretchen Alewel created a turf-war style board game complete with Team Greasers and Team Socs. Alewel said whoever gets their team to the end wins the turf, but along the way, they must overcome various obstacles. “I’ve never been one for reading, but I really liked this one,” she said.

Teachers Jeannie Garland and Newton both said their students seemed to enjoy reading the stories and went all-in to create the projects.

One of Garland’s students wrote an additional 23 pages to continue the story of “The Outsiders” while others wrote alternative endings. 

Newton’s class read “The House of the Scorpion” which is a young adult science fiction story about a clone trying to find his individual identity. 

A group of Newton’s students worked with The News Observer to write articles inspired by or based on the story. The group then helped build their own version of a newspaper, which appeared in the April 10 edition of The News Observer.

Student Peyton Nelson said she enjoyed the project and loves writing fiction.

Kelly Hulsey’s class read “The Watsons Go to Birmingham.” The story is set during the time of segregation in the South in the 1960s. Students learned about the Civil Rights movement as part of the novel study, Hulsey said.

Projects for this story included artwork, dioramas, board games and an elaborate recreation of the diner depicted in the book.

Newton said, “Several of my kids who I would not have necessarily expected to love this project, said ‘Oh my gosh, I want to do that!’ ... They did a good job, I’m very proud of them.”

When asked what they thought of the project and reading, the group of kids who read “The Watsons Go to Birmingham” replied in a chorus: “It was awesome!”; “Oh, yeah!”; and “I love to read!”

Literacy Coordinator Sarah Welch said, “I’m really impressed by how engaging the projects are and the obvious work the kids put into it, and the connections they’re making to what they’re reading.”

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