Students of Stettler area schools swept the the English language literary writing awards in some categories in the “Celebrating Words” contest organized by English Language Arts Council of the Alberta Teachers’ Association.
The most impressive success story belongs to students of Botha School’s English language teacher Katherine Melnyk.
Melnyk’s Grade 4 students Shayna Brower, Keyonna Derr and Megan Kobi received the first, second and third prizes, respectively, in the Division II Prose category.
Melnyk’s Grade 5 students Danae Chostner and Sadie Diegel received the first and second prizes in Division II Poetry category.
Olivia Clutterbuck of the Wm. E Hay High School received the first prize in Division IV Poetry while Kaitlin Poapst of the same school received honourable mention in the Division IV Prose category.
Both Clutterbuck and Poapst are students of Barbara Lynn Goodwin, English language teacher at the Wm. E Hay.
Both teachers said they loved to indulge their students in a world of ideas and diversified reading.
“I try to expose them to as much good literature as I can” said Melnyk, responding to a question on how she managed to motivate her students to write.
“With these girls, it is working very well, they are very enthusiastic readers,” she said.
As to how she encouraged students to write, “I let them look at stuff they are interested in and they develop their interests there and then I try to support them in any way I can,” said Melnyk.
She added that there was a lot of “peer editing” in her English classes, which she said helped students to improve their writing skills and vocabulary.
“We work very hard at that,” Melnyk said.
Barbara Lynn Goodwin also said she encouraged her students “to read, and read and read.”
“These ladies are terrific readers,” Goodwin said, referring to Clutterbuck and Poapst.
“I also give them lots of practice to write on lots of different topics, anywhere from everyday life to most exciting experiences they had, trying to explore the depths of their emotions.”
“In my classes, there is no holds barred, I don’t have rules that they have to follow, I am open to all sorts of conversations with them,” said Goodwin.