Carbondale Middle School
Each fall, the 5th graders at CMS interview members of the community about times in their lives they faced big changes and challenges. Students record these interviews and use them to create metaphor and simile poems aligned with 5th grade academic standards.
Elizabeth Busch, 5th grade language arts teacher from CMS
100 5th graders!
Renee Prince from VOICES
Three weeks between Holiday Breaks
November & December
1. Community Connections
The interview process engaged students in a real-world, authentic way, giving them the rare opportunity to ask adults about difficult times in their lives. Likewise, community members connected to CMS in a very unique and meaningful way.
2. Empathy Growth
In preparation for and during the interviews, students were challenged to pay attention to their own feelings, the feelings of the Community Storytellers, and the feelings of their classmates. The writing portion of the project focused on using sensory details to connect to other's experiences through the five senses.
3. Academic Standards
The following 5th grade writing standards were learning targets for this project:
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
Use narrative techniques such as dialogue, description, pacing to develop experiences and events.
Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
Student writing demonstrated growth in each of these standards, but the most common improvement was student understanding and use of sensory details to "show not tell" the events and characters' feelings in their stories.
Past community-member participants:
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