Writing, art right mix for county’s students

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 7, 2000

Features Editor

Some things just seem to naturally connect.

And, even if Linda Smith and Pam Smith didn’t have the same last name, it’s a cinch they would have connected anyway because writing and illustrating go hand in hand.

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Pam Smith, art teacher at Charles Henderson High School, and Linda Smith, first grade teacher at Troy Elementary School, connected through a School-to-Work Service Learning project and their students and all students in grades K through 5 in the Pike County and Troy City school systems will benefit.

In working with young children, Linda Smith saw a need for books that focus on character development. However, she found that not many character development books are available for K-5 students. So, at the suggestion of Sherry Key, director of the Troy Pike Center for Technology, Smith began to develop character education booklets for the two local school systems.

Key supported the project with a School-to-Work Service-Learning Connecting Project.

The booklets were written in the fall by Linda Smith and illustrated by the student’s in Pam Smith’s senior art class.

The nine-booklet series includes titles on cleanliness, forgiveness, good citizenship, honesty, patience, punctuality, respect, school pride and tolerance.

"This was a wonderful opportunity and experience for my art students," Pam Smith said. "It gave them a chance to use their creativity and talent to illustrate the books and it also gave them an opportunity to meet some of the students who will receive the books and see their response to them."

The booklets will be distributed countywide for the 2001-2002 school year, but the teachers were anxious to get some of the booklets in the hands of the students.

"Because Linda wrote the book, we thought it would be a good idea to present copies to her first grade students so they could see and appreciate what their teacher had done," Pam Smith said. "Some of the illustrators went along when the booklets were presented so the students could meet them. There was a time set aside to read the booklets, listen to the art students talk about their experiences as illustrators and to have an autograph session before the students returned to high school."

The books will be used by K-5 teachers in the county and school systems to supplement character education. The illustrations were designed so they may be colored by the students who receive them.

The CHHS senior art students who participated in the service-learning project are Virginia Radford, Emily Watkins, Walter Black, Thomas Rice, Katie Rose, Jenna Burnett, Mark Ezell, Christine Haug, David Taylor, Bill Chinberg, Chase Flowers, William McLure, Terrence Kelley, Erica Wilson, Amanda Floyd, Randy Bryant and Belinda Harrison.