<p><strong>Monica Wooton, president of the Magnolia Historical Society, works with a student on her essay.</strong></p>
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Monica Wooton, president of the Magnolia Historical Society, works with a student on her essay.


Lawton Elementary School has partnered with The Magnolia Historical Society (MHS) to have fifth and some fourth graders write their memoirs and study local history.  Teacher Peter Hubbard and MHS President Monica Wooton have worked together on a series of classroom exercises and computer lab time to allow students to learn memoir-writing skills and publish their life stories.

“I love this collaboration with The Magnolia Historical Society…they have been generous with time, expertise and donated books. I believe the future of education lies in school/community partnerships and that is what we are doing with this project,” says Hubbard.

The Society offered every student’s family a complimentary book “Magnolia: Making More Memories” at Lawton’s Curriculum night September 27th as part of the program.  The students have worked with Wooton and Hubbard to author five-paragraph stories highlighting three special moments of their lives.  

They were introduced to memoir writing with examples from the history book; memoir topics like: “Blackberry Picking on Magnolia in the 1920’s” by Dale Forbus Hogle, “My Kindergarten” by Clint White and “Grandma Epley’s Attic” by Barbara Wade Gates. 

Neil Garrens, PhD and Principal adds his perspective on the project: ”One of the things that makes a great school is involved community members — sharing their expertise and investing in our youth.  It's great to read small personal moments from student's lives that have come out of this project - stories of travel, of animal encounters, of small playground victories, and of loss.  Helping students be powerful and expressive writers is an empowering gift to our society”.

Concepts of writing were introduced and students practiced writing their “crummy first drafts” and then re-writing and revising with the help of their parents, classroom volunteers and Hubbard and Wooton.  Each student then made a poster with their published stories and each child had to illustrate their work.

One student said of her participation: “We get to publish stories at our school of when we had a special moment or of when we were little. I am learning I should have less telling and more showing…more good details in my stories.”

“I liked the fact I got to share my childhood memories with people. So, they could see what kind of person I am. I learned you can express yourself really well and have fun doing it”, another classmate added.

Guest speakers, field trips and events featuring local history will be spread throughout the year as Hubbard’s students explore the art of writing and their lives, the real world around them and eventually their  places in future careers and as citizens of the world.

To learn more about the Society, to see essays from the Lawton writing project or buy books go to www.magnolihistoricalsociety.com. Or call 284-5480.