"Writer's Cafe" promotes relaxed environment for kids - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

"Writer's Cafe" promotes relaxed environment for kids

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

LUXORA, AR (KAIT) - Fourth Grade Students at Luxora Elementary write a lot per state and national standards. 

Fourth grade teacher Anna Burton has introduced a "Writer's Cafe" to promote writing in a more relaxed environment. With cloth covered tables and jazz playing softly in the background, each student is seated individually and offered a menu of the day's writing choices. Burton says this relaxed atmosphere really pays off.

The favorite theme is "Open Choice" which means they can write about any topic they want. We saw stories about families, Valentines Day, "What I would do if I found a Hundred Dollar Bill". Lot's of different topics considering  the total number of 4th graders is only 16.

Burton says they do have some themes they have to write about according to state standards.

"We have prompts from different genre's that they have to write about." She said; "I just choose a couple of them at a time."

Burton has been serving up at the cafe for about two years. She read about a high school that used the concept and just gave out an occasional treat. Burton said she decided to "kick it up a notch." for her 4th graders.

She covers the tables with cloths, has folded cloth napkins at each place. Her refreshments are served on real china, by her.

Burton, "Give them a chance to experience what it's like to really go out and go into a cafe."

Burton says her students really like to write, even coming in during recess to write instead of play. Burton says that is really gratifying that they like to write and are doing well in the relaxed atmosphere and regular writing classes as well. The handwriting really impressed us it was, neat and correctly spelled, well above grade level.

4th graders have to write a lot to get ready for the bench mark tests that come  in the Spring. Burton says she makes her kids write, write and write some more. She has set the bar well above just passing.

Burton, "I want these 4th Graders to be the best in the state of Arkansas. So I require writing, writing and more writing."

Judging by what we saw. They stand a pretty good chance.

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