On the morning of May 9, middle school editors got to see for the first time their self-published anthology after months of work putting it together. The book is a collection of stories and poems all written and edited by middle school students.
The project started in November when 8th graders Preksha Sarda and Claudia Murphy began recruiting writers and editors for the project. This is the second year that Steph Schares, who is an Extended Learning Program teacher at Ames Middle School and staff liaison to the anthology project, has helped students produce the anthology. Sarda and Murphy took applications from fellow students for positions of editors, marketers, and also managed the communications with students. They also paired each writer with an editor early in the process to provide a collaborative and authentic approach to the writing process.
Schares posted editing and discussion guidelines on Google Classroom that were shared with the students, but the writing and collaboration was done on their own time. “It has been entirely up to the students to find time to meet together. Just like in the real world, most writers begin by writing on the side. They must find time to commit and to carve daily writing into their schedule. This is what I asked of my writers. I did not pull them out of class. I did not see them weekly. If they had questions or hit a snag, I was there to support, but they did this work independently. That’s what I’m very proud of.”
A final deadline was set with all aspects of the project working until the end. Emily Poag and Adam C. May, 8th graders who served as head editors, read every single piece of writing at the end after the genre editors of prose and poetry finished their edits. Once complete, the final version was self-published through Nook Press. The joy of seeing their work, now printed and bound, was amazing!