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Recently, Katy Riley’s seventh grade English classes visited the Writing Center in Perkins Hall to work on their persuasive essays. Students wrote essays about the Syrian refugee crisis for the Holocaust Essay Contest sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Baton Rouge. They brought their drafts to the Writing Center for feedback, and each student was paired with a 10th, 11th, or 12th grade writing fellow who engaged the middle school students in conversations about their writing. The seventh graders were able to read through their essays and gain ideas for revision on a variety of elements including formulating arguments, supporting ideas using research, and quoting and paraphrasing their source material.
After his session, student Gregory Field said, “I enjoyed being in the Writing Center. I feel like I am a better writer after the experience. I liked the way that we compared our papers to each other and helped each other out.”
Annslee Bourgeois added, “The people at the Writing Center were very kind and let us share our ideas.” This was the second visit of the school year by Ms. Riley’s students, who also came in the fall to work on their personal narrative pieces.
Ms. Riley and Writing Center Director Ms. Spaht enjoyed creating a personalized learning opportunity for the seventh graders. While half of the class worked with Ms. Spaht and the writing fellows, Ms. Riley was able to lead a smaller group in a novel study in her classroom. It was clear that both the middle and upper school students benefited from the experience. Junior Harrison Ferachi commented, “It was a pleasure to work with the seventh graders. I enjoyed hearing their different points of view on this current world issue and wish them the best of luck.”
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