Chagrin Falls Intermediate School Hosts Annual Writing Forum

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Award-winning author Michelle Houts speaks to students at Intermediate School during one of the classroom writing workshops.

Chagrin Falls Intermediate School hosted its second annual Writing Forum on Friday, Nov. 20.   The day started out with a school assembly featuring award-winning Ohio author Michelle Houts.

Houts is the author of The Beef Princess of Practical County, which won the 2010 International Reading Association Children’s Book Award and the 2011 Nebraska Farm Bureau Children’s Ag Book of the Year.

She discussed what it is like being an author and the process she goes through to get a book published. The students were engaged and excited for her presentation. Students who submitted essays answering the question “Why is writing important?” were even able to eat lunch with Houts.

For the rest of the day, students took part in at least five breakout writing sessions with presenters from the community and interns from the Chagrin Falls High School “Write Place.” The community guest speakers included journalists, grant writers, advertisers, teachers and writers.

One of the students’ favorites was historian Jaré Cardinal who, over the last 35 years, has worked at the Geauga County Historical Society, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Lake County Historical Society, the Rochester Museum and Science Center and the Seneca Iroquois National Museum.

Students from Chagrin Falls High School’s “Write Place” also visited the classrooms and introduced a variety of writing styles, including poetry. The purpose of these sessions with professionals and interns was for the students to learn about writing through different careers and disciplines.

At the end of the day, students were given opportunities to do their own creative and informative writing through various classroom lessons and activities. Some of the topics included story writing, autobiographies, journalism, marketing, museum copy and curriculum, word choice and poetry.

“Having Michelle and our other guests with us today was an awesome way to make our students aware of just how important writing is,” said Chagrin Falls Intermediate School Principal Sarah Read. “This event truly makes our students excited about writing!”

A special thanks to our guest speakers Michelle Houts, Jaré Cardinal, Jennifer Cimperman, Kathleen Gill, Jean Kanzinger, Nancy Kevern, Neil Markey, Jessica McKendry, Jason Mitton, Mara Purnhagen, Heather Reeder and Sue Reid.

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