When third grade teacher Amy Arceneaux assigned her students the task of writing a nonfiction book, Lowell Lambert knew just what to write about. Lowell has one love – Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. After discussing his topic of choice with Mrs. Arceneaux, he began writing his book based on everything he already knew as a huge fan of the restaurant. The only research Lowell actually had to do was to learn more about the company’s origins. The finished assignment is a ten page, illustrated book highlighting the food served, the company’s history, and founder and fellow Episcopal Knight Todd Graves ’90. Of course, the book also includes a mention of the restaurant’s namesake Raising Cane, the dog. “Most restaurants don’t have a mascot,” writes Lowell.
Lowell recently had an exciting opportunity to celebrate the completion of his book and the research he conducted into Graves’ entrepreneurial journey. Graves invited the young writer and his family to tour the Raising Cane’s Baton Rouge headquarters. “Raising Cane’s is my favorite restaurant ever,” says Lowell. “My favorite part of our visit was getting a gigantic basket of goodies from the team at Raising Cane’s. I also enjoyed reading my book to Mr. Graves.”
Arceneaux says writing is an important component of the third grade curriculum. In fact, this is actually the second book the students have been assigned to create and they have now moved on to their third. “My students love to write and we write everyday,” says Arceneaux. “Already this year, they have written many stories and they are always excited to choose their best ones to publish.”
The recent opportunity to bring the topic of a story to life certainly added to this year’s excitement. Episcopal teachers are always in search of such creative and meaningful ways to inspire students to practice writing. In the summer of 2017, Arceneaux was selected to attend the Teacher’s College of Columbia University Writing Workshop. “Spending time at Teacher’s College in New York motivated me to continue making writing a focus of our day,” she says. “Students are excited when I send them off to write in their Writer’s Notebooks and I am pleased to see their skills develop over the course of the school year.”
Writing is a key component of an Episcopal education. Students in PreK-4 practice their writing skills as they learn to properly use a pencil and write simple words. Before Lower School students begin a project-based learning unit, they are tasked with writing about what they know and what they hope to learn regarding their new topic. In Middle School, the focus on writing continues as the outstanding Middle School English student in each grade is honored as a recipient of the annual Penniman Awards. Upper School students write reflections regarding service projects and students with a passion for writing serve as Writing Center Fellows. Such a consistent focus on writing will serve Episcopal students well as they move on to a university setting and ultimately begin their careers.
Learn more about how Lower School grows great writers in this blog post by first grade teacher Corey Lemoine.
For additional examples of writing opportunities in Lower School, check out the following blog posts.
Dinosaurs, Writing and an Award-Winning Author - Just Another Day at Episcopal
Fun with Words: Literacy Skills and the 3rd Grade Vocabulary Parade
To read more about the Writing Center click here.