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Shaking Up a Writing Standard


“Oh the weather in here is frightful, but the writing is so delightful,” could have been the message of students who used their imaginations to explain why they wanted to live in a snow globe.

To shake up a fourth-grade writing standard, Paris Ridge Elementary teachers Amy Dyksterhouse, Bari Cane and Sarah Cox challenged students to write persuasive letters to their parents about where they would like to live inside a snow globe.

Students created their own globes using plastic plates on top of a scene they drew on construction paper, and included photos of themselves. They chose Alaska, Paris, Toronto and Detroit, among other destinations, as places they wouldn’t mind living in a world of swirling snowflakes.

But fourth-grader Liam Langeweg wasn’t feeling the winter weather, and instead created a rain globe so he could live in Madagascar. While visiting, he explained, he would plant trees, see animals and play in the rain.

Student Brayden Grant wants to live in the snow in “the middle of nowhere.” “I just drew it and it came to life,” he said.

Peering in Derick Prichard’s snow globe, one sees a peaceful forest with “no lawn mowers disturbing my reading”
Peering in Derick Prichard’s snow globe, one sees a peaceful forest with “no lawn mowers disturbing my reading”

JamesDiegel wants to live in a snow globe in downtown Caledonia
JamesDiegel wants to live in a snow globe in downtown Caledonia

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

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