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200 Carroll Avenue, Mamaroneck, NY 10543

 

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Current News

F.E. Bellows Students Craft Authentic Stories

F.E. Bellows Students Craft Authentic Stories photo
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Fifth-grade students who have been studying the art of fictional writing and character development in their English language arts classes recently worked with Jenna Gavigan, a writer and accomplished Broadway and television actress, to craft their own stories. 

During the first session, Gavigan, who graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, shared insight about her professional career, the process of writing and getting one’s work published. She also helped the students develop a list of character traits and plots, as well as locations throughout Rye Neck that could make for a good setting for their fictional stories. 

“Jenna encouraged the students to create a story that leads our characters through Rye Neck in an effort to solve a problem at hand,” said William McKeon, the library media specialist at the school. “This year, we used a ‘choose kindness’ theme, and the story outline has been bringing students together for the purpose of making a new student’s transition to Bellows easier.” 

As a conclusion to the lessons, Gavigan will provide each fifth-grade class with the completed story they created together. Then in May, the students will welcome local artist Laura Bott from The Bott Shoppe to their school to create digital illustrations for their books. 

“Laura will show the students immediately what their character might look like with red hair or wearing gym shorts and sneakers,” McKeon said. “The students are always wonderfully engaged during this session. Laura will then take their ideas and images back to her shop to create the booklet in digital form.” 

Once printed, parent volunteers will bind the books and provide each fifth-grader with a copy. Special thanks the PTSA for generously supporting the students’ work with the author and artist.  
 

Third-Graders Explore Informational Writing

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Third-grade students, who have been exploring the craft of informational writing, are creating their own books as part of the Writing Workshop curriculum at F.E. Bellows Elementary School.

“They possess a great deal of knowledge and have delved into the world of writing informational texts, teaching others about what they know,” said third-grade teacher Ann Cullagh, adding that the topics vary depending on the students’ interests. “The students nurture their writing identities and personal passions by sharing their expertise with their readers.”

As part of the unit, the young writers planned for their informational books by generating questions that go with the topic. They also wrote entries with cohesive answers to those questions and carefully considered the sequence of information they need to present to their readers. Throughout the process, the students were encouraged to revise their writing by including precise language and visuals and to make sure their questions and answers align.

“The students worked with their partners to provide more specific, meaningful feedback and get support with their own work,” Cullagh said. 

As a culmination to their informational writing unit, the students will host a writing celebration for their families on Feb. 14. 

Writing Workshop, a K-5 initiative at the Rye Neck Schools, was implemented at the beginning of the school year to engage students in the art of writing and empower them with the tools and confidence to see themselves as writers. Throughout the year, the students participate in five units of study to explore informational, narrative and opinion writing and build upon their writing techniques.