Second-graders become published authors

Fox Creek Elementary hosts first book signing

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The second-graders of Fox Creek Elementary spent all day practicing how to sign their autograph in a book about beavers.

In their individual classrooms, they passed around the book they collaboratively wrote, and practiced how to quickly find the page to which they contributed.

Crystal Winter, Mellissa Baskall and Tina Petrick, Fox Creek's second-grade teachers, were preparing their students March 5 for their first book-signing event that evening at the Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch.

“We practiced being professional,” Petrick said, “because this is a professional book signing. We're authors and illustrators.”

Each class produced a published non-fiction book about beavers, in which every student has a page or two that they created — the writing and the illustrations.

Fox Creek is an expeditionary learning school, which, in part, includes real-life application, Baskall said. Case studies make up the expeditions, she said, and the second-graders did two case studies: one on beavers, in which they worked in small groups; and one on their choice of any Colorado animal, in which they worked individually.

The beaver case study included field work, Baskall said. The classes went to South Platte Park and gathered data, which they submitted to the park, she said, plus they got to build a model of a beaver lodge.

The books about beavers were part of their literary studies, Baskall said. It took them several drafts to produce the high-quality work they did, she said, which is important in expeditionary learning.

Expeditionary learning also means displaying their work to a wider audience, Winter said.

“The purpose of having a wider audience,” she said, “is to give the students more motivation to write.”

The books produced by the second-graders at Fox Creek Elementary are available for purchase on Amazon: www.amazon.com. “Nature's Engineer” is the title for both Mellissa Baskall and Tina Petrick's classes, and “A Beaver's Life” is the title for Crystal Winter's class.

Teachers are also in the process of arranging to have the books available at the Highlands Ranch Tattered Cover. A date of availability is not yet determined, but the public may also check the Tattered Cover in the near future.

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