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This month, Mrs. Burgess worked with her Grade 6 Language Arts students to conduct interviews with elder members of their family. The project was intended, among other aims, to teach students how to use direct and indirect quotations in their writing. What they learned and shared far exceeded Mrs. Burgess’ initial expectations.

“The projects are just awesome,” reports a beaming Mrs. Burgess, “Some students will submit their stories to the Legacy Project’s Listen to a Life Story contest.”

Students began their assignment by interviewing a family member, usually a parent or a grand parent. In some cases this could be done in person, while in others, technology like Facetime or simply a cell phone allowed them to conduct interviews from afar.

In terms of questions, students were given latitude in what they asked resulting in a broad range of stories to share. Their real challenge? How to capture their subject’s voice and distill stories into just a few paragraphs.

The result was a rich tapestry of personal accounts ranging from innocent childhood memories to courageous and sometimes tragic brushes with war and its aftermath. One adventurous grandfather even shared stories of mining for diamonds in Southern Africa!

Related: In order to support ECDC and Elementary students to be better prepared for the rigors of our IB Middle Years Program, Saint Mary’s Catholic School is building a new Literacy Library in Mrs. Murray’s resource office. Once our learners reach 6th grade, they have two English instructors: One dedicated to Literature and the other dedicated to Language Arts. Yet another reason SMCS graduates outshine their peers in high school! We’ll release more information on the Literacy Library and some special events related to its launch this spring.