Evening links literature, technology for students, parents

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Seventh-grade students at St. Vincent de Paul School took a 130-page book and summarized it into 12 tiny typed pages with the help of their parents.

The project was called Book in a Box and helped link technology and literature in an interdisciplinary program at the Catholic school. The project also was a way for parents to visit the classroom and see what their children are learning, said Becky Crow, junior high literature teacher.

"This is for the enjoyment of learning," she said.

The seventh-grade students and their parents spent an evening at the school learning together while creating the book.

The students had been reading the fantasy book "Stonewords -- A Ghost Story" by Pam Conrad in Crow's class. After each chapter, they had to write a 30- to 35-word summary of the events.

Using the summaries from all 12 chapters, students took their work and typed it into a cell table on the computer.

After printing the tables, the student-parent teams cut the summaries and folded them accordion-style so they'd fit into 2-by-4-inch boxes.

Students also drew pictures to illustrate their miniature books. Finally, each student-parent team created some artwork on the lid of the box to represent the literature they had studied.

Student Alicia Toole said, "Summarizing the chapters was really difficult, but it's been a lot of fun."

Her mother, Anita Toole, said the project was "simple, it was interactive and it was fun."

"It was nice to see them use so many different skills on one project," said parent Dorothy Anderson. Her daughter, Melissa, attends the school.

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