Cove fourth graders named writing princesses, princes

BY WENDY SLEDD
Special to Leader-Press
Similes, personification and onomatopoeia…can you identify these when reading written material? If so, these abilities could earn you a sparkling tiara.If not, you may not be smarter than a 4th grader—at least not at Hettie Halstead Elementary School. Students in Dana Easter’s fourth grade class got the chance to show off their revising and editing skills as well as their writing skills by working toward a goal – becoming a member of the writing royal court. When a fourth grader earned that right he/she received the royal title of Writing Prince or Writing Princess. “Students must be able to spell correctly, recognize grammar and punctuation mistakes as well as know how to combine sentences and when sentences are run-ons or incomplete. It can be daunting at times,” Easter said. “When not revising and editing language arts passages, fourth graders are writing their own compositions. Expository and personal narratives are common words in a fourth grade classroom.” Students had to use language arts strategies taught to them throughout the year on different revising and editing assignments. They also had to earn at least a passing grade twice on written compositions. “It took a lot of hard work and dedication to make it to the royal court, but membership has its perks,” Easter said. “Princes and Princesses decorated their own crowns to keep. They had their pictures taken and placed for all of Halstead to see. Writing royalty also enjoyed one extra recess and earned five raffle tickets to be used on raffles held in their classroom.” 4th grader Maleah Hall said she felt extra pressure mounting as the final requirements came due. “It was the last day to complete work for the royal court. So it was really hard because I only had a few hours left. I did extra credit work. There was ten minutes left, and I had to turn it in. After P.E., I found out I was a princess and…I was just soooo happy I couldn’t take it all in. I was freaking out.” Easter said students became excited about writing. “They worked hard to use strong verbs and adjectives. Composition writing saw many improvements. Students became cognizant of spelling and punctuation errors,” Easter said. “They tried very hard to fix run-on sentences and place periods appropriately. Becoming a member of the royal court truly became a goal the students strived to achieve.” Student Craig Brown said he felt like a real prince. “It took me a long time to revise and edit and to write big sentences,” he said. “It took me weeks to get this accomplished, and I was very proud to get this. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done in school.”

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