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Farmington schools: Bringing out the author within

Riverview Elementary School student Carolyn Rausch shared the cartoon she designed on her iPad during the March 20 Youth Authors Workshop.

Having a good story to tell is one thing. Being able to tell that story on paper, to other people, is something entirely different.

Learning how to tell a story to others was part of the motivation behind last week's Young Authors Workshop for Farmington middle school students. Organized by gifted-and-enhanced learning specialist Patricia Smith, the day-long workshop was set up for students who have an interest in writing.

Held March 20 at Boeckman Middle School, the workshop gave students a feel for the different media available to develop their writing skills. It was open to students in grades 4-8, which meant all of District 192's elementary schools and both middle schools participated.

The workshops were conducted by local teachers and authors, who shared different genres and skills with the students. For instance, former Dodge Middle School teacher Jim Hoey, a published author, presented "Writing About Your Passion," while Riverview Elementary School media specialist Brooke Berg, a children's book author, spoke on "Finding Your Voice."

In the media center, visual arts teacher Madonna McCarthy taught students how to make their own journals. Meanwhile, in one of the computer labs, digital learning specialist Brianna Buck showed students how to animate a story as a cartoon using their iPads.

There were seven stations set up around BMS. Students moved from one room to the next throughout the day, and were challenged to use different writing skills in each room.

"This way, they get to meet and interact with writers," Smith said. "Hopefully this will help them move along in their own quests to become a writer."

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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