Mason Intermediate fourth graders once again welcomed author Rob Buyea to their classrooms to discuss writing skills, and to lead students through a guided writing lesson.
MI language arts teachers guided their students through his Buyea's book, Because of Mr. Terupt, during the character unit of study. In this unit, students learned how a person's actions reflect their character and what motivates them to act a certain way.
“We emphasized theme at the end of the unit, as students were able to pull deeper life lessons based on the book character's struggles and how they changed because of their teacher,” explained fourth grade Language Arts teacher Christine Work, who helped bring Buyea to Mason. “Thus far, my homeroom has identified at least 12 different themes!”
Buyea, a former math teacher from Connecticut, based much of the book on his own experiences in the classroom - including the “dollar word challenge” which places a monetary value on each letter of the alphabet, with “A” as one cent, and “Z” as 26 cents. The challenge is for students to find words that equal a one-dollar value.
MI students devoured the book and its characters; seven fifth graders and their teacher who are facing issues that connected with many of the MI fourth graders. The book connected with the classes' character unit, and realistic fiction unit.
“To be a great writer, you need to turn on the writing switch at all times and look for stories around you,” shared Buyea. “ To be a great writer, you need to be a reader first. And don’t be afraid to fail!”
After Buyea’s presentation he led students through a guided writing lesson, where traits of each character from the book were discussed. He then had students write a new scene using a current school project, but in the voice of one of the familiar characters in Because of Mr. Terupt.
Many of the fourth graders were motivated to improve their writing. Mariah Jackson said,” I like his writing because he gives great details and it helps me get ideas for great characters in my stories.”
Fellow fourth grader Logan Smith said that he, “Liked hearing how the author came up with the ideas for how he created his characters. It helped me think like a writer.” Another student, Luke Roberts, said “I like that we got to write, and it was fun to write about one of his characters.
“We are grateful to the PTO for funding his visit and look forward to future plans with Rob Buyea!” added Work.