Writing Outside our Doors
Wonder what’s special about life in Maine? Ask a freshman.
In pursuit of real-world application of writing skills, Ms. Gillette and Mrs. Harris’s honors freshmen English students received instruction in developing strong writing techniques and appealing layouts to access targeted audiences. Individually they examined their own personal relationships with Maine, interviewed owners of local restaurants, took photographs enhancing their message, and polished their work into final, published articles. In groups of three or four, they planned and executed mini-magazines representing writing in the three different types studied (first-person narrative, third-person reporting, and service articles promoting a place/activity) as well as photo essays. The final products conveyed a wide variety of student perspectives on the people, locations, and opportunities in Maine.
After working earlier with students in the classroom, Kathleen Fleury and Brian Kevin of Down East Magazine then reviewed the final student publications, searching out their ‘top picks’, focusing on those magazines which successfully delivered a cohesive message.
As he read through the stack, Kevin would get absorbed by the writing, often exclaiming, “That’s a terrific lede!” or “Great kicker.” He was impressed that students sought out multiple sources of information, especially quotes, and commented, “For young writers, some of these pieces display remarkably lyrical prose.”
As editor-in-chief, Fleury’s feedback focused on unified presentation on the page: “Some of these have meaty content…Many of them really understood the multiple access points on a page to bring in the reader…how all the elements should work together to deliver the overall feeling.”
After they are digitized, the top picks will appear as a link on the Down East website so that these students’ work can reach a wider audience. As one student said, "I liked getting to learn about local issues and being able to educate people on them. It was fun to do this type of research and writing," while another added, "I'm excited to show people." We're happy to give you a look!
Download Downeast 1
Download Downeast 2
Download Downeast 3