COVID-19 and distance learning haven’t deterred the creativity of Baldwin Creek Elementary 4th graders.
Starting in late March, writers composed POW! (Power of Words) sentences. Inspired by a single photograph or video, students write and revise one impactful sentence sparked by the image. During weekly video tutorials with Chase McFadden — publisher of The Batch teen literary/arts magazine — the 4th graders learned writing techniques and tricks they could integrate into their sentences.
“Limiting writers to one sentence encourages them to pay careful attention to word choice and fluency,” McFadden explains of the exercise. “One sentence is manageable, and it gives them an opportunity to play with language and consider how their writing sounds as well as how it looks.
“We talk a lot about good writing being messy writing, that process of taking the initial sentence and marking it up, crossing words out, inserting words, drawing arrows to rearrange language chunks. That idea of starting with something then making it better. The kids have written some powerful sentences,” says McFadden.
The first photograph shared with the writers featured a pair of sandhill cranes. Emphasis was placed on a writing trick called The Magic 3, a premise that strong writers structure patterns of threes into their writing to create a natural rhythm and flow.
The photo was taken by Reed McFadden and selected for publication in the first edition of The Batch for Fremont County, which can be followed on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @batchwyoming.
A sampling of sentences from the BCE 4th grade writers:
Elegant, graceful and majestic, the sandhill cranes flew north to mate. — Lukas Hawthorne
Flying, stretching, migrating, the cranes zoom through the field. — Addisyn McDougal
The graceful, swift, elegant birds flew through the air like paper floating in the wind. — Toby Plaisted
The exquisite sandhills fly off into the fading sunset, watching the cattails behind them. — Kennedy Brown
The graceful cranes soared through the tall waves of grass. — Savanna Martell
Flying, majestic, and startled, the cranes took off into the skies. — Ryne Robinson
The amazing, beautiful, fearless birds took off from the creek. — Aleila Smith
The mesmerizing crane spread its majestic wings, taking flight. — Lily Grundey
Taking off, a blur of sound and color is something you will never forget. — Grady Phillips
The wonderful sandhill cranes took flight in the beautiful state of Wyoming. — Corbin Eddy
The elegant sandhill cranes take off flying and calling to their babies. — Caydence Hamilton
The magnificent sandhill cranes let out a cry and leapt into the cool, crisp air. — Sara Kearns
When the sandhill cranes begin to fly, they stretch their long necks and spread their tail feathers and large wings for a smooth takeoff. — Isaiah Maglalang
The majestic birds soared up — past the sparkling, gurgling creek, past cattails, past the trees — to meet the sky. — Kathryn Wilson
The sandhill cranes have huge wingspans, a very distinctive sound and are very tall and lanky. — Brenner Colman