Students in Grade 5 at Pope John Paul II school, have a new series of inspirational books to choose from during reading time, thanks to a collaborative project with Grade 10 students at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Earlier in the school year the two classes partnered on an inspirational poster and picture book project to address issues and concerns of the Grade 5 students.
Dallis Novelli, Grade 10 teacher, explains the initiative. "Our first attempt at this project was to build relationships between the grades, and then we decided to make the project more meaningful, so we anonymously took surveys in the Grade 5 class about issues the students were dealing with. The Grade 10's then went back with a real purpose; to write books that help the Grade 5's deal with their concerns."
Novelli's Grade 10 Religion class reviewed the survey data and then wrote the books as a positive approach to address the common concerns of the younger students in topics of anxiety, making friends, rumours, bullying and parents fighting.
During a special visit to reveal the finished books, the senior students had an opportunity to spend time with the Grade 5's and read the stories to small groups of students.
Grade 5 student, Aspen Holmstrom listened to The Worry Strikes Back
, by Julia and Julia and talks about the story. "I really like the story, because it's about telling the truth and not telling lies," she said. "I like working with the Grade 10 students. It was nice and I really like them. They are friends to us."
Jon Walters, Grade 5 teacher talks about what is going to happen next. "Now that the Grade 5's have been introduced to the story writing process they are going to become authors of their own books and work with the younger students at PJP to create books about the amazing things the school has to offer."