Archive for Thursday, March 30, 2006

History students face challenge of writing WWI books for kids

March 30, 2006

World War I may not seem like the most palatable choice for a children's book, but students in Tracy Hutton's world history classes at Lansing High School proved the task could be done successfully.

At the end of the two classes' unit on World War I, Hutton had the students make a hardcover book containing facts and vocabulary words from the unit that would be suitable for children.

"Once they stopped laughing, they did pretty good," Hutton said.

Hutton said her classes had made books on other topics before, but she particularly liked this year's focus.

Some students approached the project by using symbolism, and some used letters to help make the information easy for the younger students to digest, she said.

Hutton asked fourth-grade teachers at Lansing Intermediate School if her classes could read their stories to the younger students. They visited the fourth-graders before spring break.

"I was surprised by how receptive the teachers were," she said.

She said she picked fourth grade because her son is in that grade but also based on the students' development.

"Kids this age are naturally curious," Hutton said.

The project also benefited her freshman and sophomore students, Hutton said, because they would learn the material better by teaching it.

That seemed to be the case with her students.

"Having to explain it gets it stuck in your head," sophomore Brittney Atchison said. "I'm sure we're going to remember it at least through high school."

Sophomore Nick Flynn added, "Hopefully they'll remember it, too."

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