826 is an organization dedicated to providing free writing instruction to kids ages 6-18. They have offices in many cities across the country. Last year, 826 volunteers came to my classroom to help my students write mysteries. This led to some of the best writing I'd ever seen produced by students in an elementary school. Two of their stories were even published by 826 Michigan in their "Best Of 826" anthology!
This time around, they've turned the classroom into a product development office. Students will be "working" for an as-yet unnamed department store, designing new products and writing about them in a way that would make people want to buy them.
Tuesday, they brainstormed ideas. Today, they'll be building models and making detailed sketches. Next week, they'll start their writing and the last week of school, we'll have a publication party where we unveil our work!
Sounds pretty awesome, I know. The folks from 826 are some of my favorite people in the entire world. They've helped me, and the rest of our 4th/5th grade staff, become better teachers of writing. If you'd like to learn more about their Ann Arbor center, click here: http://826michigan.org or if you'd like to learn more about their national organization as well as their centers around the country, try this one: http://826national.org .
And stay tuned for more updates from our product development team!