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4-30-18 — Santa Fe Trail Authors Build on Existing Stories

April 30, 2018 ~ Students at Santa Fe Trail Middle School received unfinished young adult stories and are tasked with completing them in hopes of being published. Young Author Top Secret Traveling StoryBox is a unique project where published authors of young adult books create a foundation for a story and leave the rest up to young, aspiring authors. Students can create their own flair or plot twists to these stories and make them their own.

Resource Teacher Mary Scholl heard of the project from a former college professor and was excited to bring the opportunity to Olathe.

“Sixth- and eighth-grade language arts teachers are working with their students to review and choose which story to begin to co-author,” said Scholl. “It can be difficult to get students interested in writing, but this project has been a chance to engage our middle schoolers to think beyond their narrative and connect to a new one started on paper.”

One of the changeling aspects of the project is for students to keep the author’s original voice and add narrative to advance the story.

“This project gives students a chance to push themselves when producing a piece of writing,” said Scholl. “Knowing there is a chance to become published and have your version of the story shared around the country has been motivation to think critically of their work.”

When students are finished with their stories, Story Ambassadors read through finished versions and carefully consider which stories to publish.

As this is a traveling project, the next group of students to receive started stories are at Ottewell Junior High in Alberta, Canada.

“Having this opportunity to bring the Young Author Top Secret Storybox to Santa Fe Trail has been a wonderful collaboration of education and grade levels,” Scholl said. “The teachers and students at this school have a curious and positive energy, which makes this project a no brainer!”