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Bringing Blake Middle School and Medfield High School Closer Together Through Writing

Article by Kailey Wasserman, a Medfield High School student and member of the student newspaper, "The Kingsbury Chronicle." This piece is part of Medfield Patch's series, "Warrior Weekly."

The Kingsbury Chronicle is the Medfield High School newspaper.
The Kingsbury Chronicle is the Medfield High School newspaper.
By Kailey Wasserman

With the introduction of a fresh school year comes a series of brand new changes.
As many Medfield students and teachers know, these changes often prove to be exciting additions to scheduled routines. Ms. Ann Marie Sabra, described by students as a “beloved” English teacher at Medfield High School for the past nineteen years, has recently taken on two sixth-grade classes over at Blake Middle School in addition to her high school classes.

Every day Ms. Sabra looks forward to traveling over to the middle school to teach a MARS class. MARS stands for Math and Reading Seminar, and acts as a supplemental class for students to have the opportunity to expand on their math and reading skills, while receiving guided support.

As a traditional English assignment that is completed every year, the sixth grade students write their own endings to a short story called “The Escape.” Seeing this as a chance to bring her new ideas to the table, Ms. Sabra transformed the creative writing assignment into a lively contest. With the prospect of having their own pieces of creative writing read aloud for their peers to listen to and admire, the sixth graders have been faced with newfound motivation.

Ms. Sabra’s sixth grade class also has the extraordinary opportunity to work on their assignment with the high school students in Mrs. Mary Garcia’s creative writing class. Mrs. Garcia, who is described by students as “a breath of fresh air,” has been teaching English classes at Medfield High for the past fourteen years. Mrs. Sabra introduced the idea of having Mrs. Garcia’s students come over to Blake to 
judge the creative writing assignment as a fun way to bridge two talented classes. Ms. Sabra said, “Since her creative writing class is right next door, I thought this is the perfect fit. It’s what their class focuses on, my kids are writing creatively; let’s get the high school kids involved.”

On November 11th and 15th, the sixth graders could not have been more excited to be working with high schoolers. Eager to receive feedback and be exposed to what high school may have in store for them, they jumped at the chance to impress Mrs. Garcia’s students with their own writing skills. As Ms. Sabra said, “I think we forget how much the sixth graders look at the high school kids...they just thought it was so cool, and they loved that they were reading their work...they couldn’t wait.”

Upon receiving feedback, Mrs. Garcia described the 6th graders as extremely “receptive, they were hanging on every word...they asked a lot of questions afterwards trying to see if their own work had caught the attention of the older kids.” The high school kids were sure to remember that they were 
evaluating middle school work, and made a point to emphasize the middle schoolers’ areas of strength. Enlightened with positive feedback, the middle schoolers were more than pleased to hear how much Mrs. Garcia’s kids had enjoyed reading their work.

Since Mrs. Garcia’s creative writing class will be replaced by a new group of students come the beginning of second semester, Ms. Sabra said there is “definitely room to continue” writing workshops similar to this one. Bringing these two schools closer together in this manner is definitely a win-win for everyone. In Ms. Sabra’s words, “You’re providing the high school kids with the opportunity to step into these leadership roles, and build on the energy we sometimes miss at the high school.”

Allowing the high schoolers to see how exciting it is to engage in the creative writing process as a middle schooler serves as an excellent reminder for them to keep pursuing the hobbies that bring them happiness and fulfillment. Similarly, the middle schoolers have been sparked with newfound anticipation for what their own high school careers may look like in the future. Ms. Sabra and Mrs. Garcia have 
managed to bridge Blake Middle School and Medfield High School in a phenomenal way that benefits everyone who gets to be part of their unique classes.

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