After a semester of hard work, Chapman University’s College of Educational Studies’ future teachers and Yorba Academy of the Arts Middle School’s Journalism students were able to celebrate their writing with a publishing party. This collaboration was part of the fieldwork for Dr. Noah Asher Golden’s spring Integrated Educational Studies 412: Teaching of Writing K-12 course. What was interesting about this collaboration was while we future teachers were learning about various methodologies regarding the teaching and learning of writing, we were able to carry out these methods in a classroom setting. This semester long project was divided into four different parts, which mimicked the four stages of writing: prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. Each group was designated six visits with the Yorba students in which they prepared the students for the next stages of writing. We worked to adapt these stages to the needs of the students. What mattered more was not remaining loyal to the schedule, but ensuring that the students’ needs were met at their pace.
As an overall theme, the students at Yorba chose safety, which they interpreted through their diverse journalism topics. As they wrote about what safety meant for them, we also wrote our own journalistic articles. This was fascinating because as our students were going through the writing process, we too were experiencing them. This made the partnership very powerful. There were no barriers between being a college student or middle school student; we simply were writers writing about our experiences with safety.
To celebrate our accomplishments, a publishing party was held on May 6, 2016. This event evidenced our collaboration as writers, as representatives of both the Chapman and Yorba communities presented their work. I greatly admire the courage of the students who chose to read their pieces at the event. It took a tremendous amount of confidence for the middle school students to read in front of the many guests in attendance, including members of their families, their teachers from Yorba, and members of the Chapman community. Although not all volunteered to read their pieces, all students celebrated their accomplishments. This collaboration strengthened my desire to pursue a career in education. As educators, we must not forget that we were once on the opposite side of the desk. This publishing party allowed me to recall that. Having had the opportunity to talk to parents made me proud to be a future educator. Seeing the proud pleased faces of the parents demonstrated to me that our work was truly appreciated. Perhaps I only attended six sessions with them, but those six sessions made a difference in these students’ lives.
The Chapman-Yorba Collaboration could not have occurred without the support of Yorba teacher Ms. Andrea Lopez, Yorba principal, Ms. Tracy Knibb, and the generous support of the Lloyd E. and Elisabeth H. Klein Family Foundation. On the behalf of the IES 412 Teaching of Writing class, I want to thank them for their contributions to this successful collaboration.
By Sandra Loredo, B.A. Integrated Educational Studies program, Class of ‘18