DTS – Scavo Partnership Produces Illustrated Short Stories

Downtown School students pose as a class with their books.

Mr. Miller’s Downtown School class show off their finished books.

Students dream of pursuing all sorts of careers after they graduate, and sometimes they have an opportunity to experiment with those careers while still in school. Thanks to collaborating instructional coaches from Scavo High School and Downtown elementary school, students from both schools combined forces for six weeks this year to create a piece to publish that has turned out to be one of the highlights of the year.

Second and third grade students in Bruce Miller’s class at the Downtown School were tasked with writing fictional short stories. Art students in Michel Schmida’s class at Scavo High School brought those stories to life with detailed illustrations.

“The teachers and coaches initially thought the artists would get a draft of the story to use to draw the pictures,” said DTS Instructional Coach Amanda Clark. “We quickly found out the artists wanted daily updates of the writing, which was so exciting.”

Mr. Miller’s students had a sneak peek of some of the pages about four weeks into the project.

“The audible gasps, seeing the students literally sitting on the edge of their seats, and not wanting to put their books down for lunch were all good signs,” Schmida said.

“I think the pictures were nice and awesome,” Helen Hutchison, 9, a student in Mr. Miller’s class said.

As soon as Scavo art students put the finishing touches on the illustrations, the pages were sent to the Des Moines Public Schools print shop for copy and binding. The end result was a real masterpiece in collaboration.

“The finished product was satisfying,” Lizzy Millen, 17, a Scavo student said.

“The Scavo students found that this gave the work they do a deeper purpose,” Schmida said. “Student engagement was extremely high.”

The district was there to capture photos as students from both schools got together to see the finished product for the first time. They shared snacks, read their stories and appreciated the complexity of the illustrator/author relationship.

“It is one of those experiences that when they are asked about their best school memories, I feel this will be at the top,” Schmida said.

Click here to visit the district’s Flickr.com page and see more photos.

DTS & Scavo Publish Books

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