This past Monday, the Rowan Writing Center hosted an event showcasing the work done by the third through eighth grade students of Glassboro public schools. The participating students were a part of the Gifted & Talented program run by teacher Mary Aruffo, who has been able to watch them work and grow through the years.
The program has been running for 8 years. Parents, tutors and a few professors gathered around to look at the students’ work and listen to the students share their stories. The third graders had to create short stories that incorporated something about flying. The students were surprised when they walked into the venue and saw that illustrations had been created to accompany the stories they were telling. Professor Margiotta, an illustrations professor at Rowan, had her students create individual works of art for each child’s stories.
The eighth graders, on the other hand, created what is called a “frame.” These frames contained quotes and words in the center. All of the words and quotes held personal, sentimental meaning to each artist who created it. Around the edges of these frames were supportive words to go along with the theme.
Not only did Aruffo, Margiotta and the Writing Center play a huge part in this program, but so did two Rowan students.
Julia Taormina is an undergraduate student majoring in elementary studies. Taormina talked about her experience working through the processes of the program.
“It was a great opportunity to see the classroom in action,” Taormina said.
Both her and another student, Daniel DeLuise, expressed how proud they were of everyone in the program and how they really enjoyed seeing the progress all the students had made.
DeLuise graduated Rowan as an undergraduate in 2016, but is now a first-year graduate student in the Masters of Arts in Writing and Teaching Experience Program. DeLuise not only talked about his experience with the program, but also about working with the community.
“This experience has really opened me up to the idea of community outreach in the college setting,” DeLuise said. “This program started as me entering the 8th grade classroom once a month to help with their writing and it evolved into a multi-modal writing and art project across two levels. I was really inspired by the students’ writing and Professor Margiotta’s students’ work.”
The work that the students showcased is being shared with many other writing centers around the area in hopes that it will inspire those writing centers to get involved in similar programs. DeLuise is currently looking for ways to expand these ideas across additional grade levels and to hopefully get more Rowan students involved.
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