The Aquinian

STU student encouraging kids to be creative

STU education student Jenny Davidson is the founder of a program called Write Across the Middle, which allows students to share their creative writing with kids from other schools. (Tom Bateman/AQ)

A St. Thomas University education student has started a program that’s helping kids share their creative writing.

Write Across the Middle is a story-trading website that gets middle school students to write whatever they please and have it read by others their same age.

“It’s an outlet where students submit any work, no restrictions, French and English in writing, podcasts, comics, and animation,” said program founder and STU student Jenny Davidson.

“It’s not associated with the classroom in any way and is just kids sharing their identity.”

Any child in one of the four middle schools in District 18 can write anything they please and have it posted to a website where it can be viewed by any other student who also submits work. Comments can be left by other students to help encourage, strengthen and improve the work.

Davidson came up with the idea while she interned at Bliss Carmen Middle School.

“I just love reading student work. It’s amazingly well-written, personal and raw,” said Davidson. But they don’t often get to share with kids from other schools.

Davidson, who came to STU after teaching for two years in South Korea, said her main goal is to create a community.

“It’s an age group that spans schools, so it’s very open and it’s taking off.”

The website is published monthly, like a magazine.

Write Across the Middle is run outside of the classroom and acts as an enrichment program.

A teacher from each school meets once a month with Davidson and the others that have helped build up the program, including four STU education program volunteers.

As an incentive, every student who submits a piece of work has a chance to have their name drawn to become the feature writer.

Every month, the feature writer has their work showcased on the website. They also get their picture taken with the principal of their school while they are presented with a special writing journal.

“It’s very simple and it adds to the reward that students get just by sharing.”

While the project is only halfway into its second issue, according to Davidson, it has received plenty of positive feedback from the schools as well as everyone she’s presented it to. Most importantly though, she said the program has gotten top grades from the students.

“They love it so far, which is fantastic because it has become exactly what I envisioned it to be.”

Davidson hopes to keep the project going after she graduates. She plans to move to Alberta to teach.

“While I’m out there, I really want to start this up again and then connect the two groups.

“When kids see what other kids are doing outside of their school, it lets them know that there are others out there like them and it makes them want to do even better.”

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