During the school year, Jackson County member Robin Chancey receives emails from several colleges offering writing opportunities to grades K–12 or 5–12. When Chancey received the email from Shepherd College with the opportunity for her students to write their own fictional story about Appalachia, she thought this was a grand opportunity to teach them about and have them research Appalachian culture. Her students were so excited to learn about the food, music, clothes, transportation history, education, and survival skills needed during the early days of settlement in the Appalachian Mountains. Chancey felt this was a great way for them to learn more about West Virginia, too. “They had to write a brief bio about themselves and draw or take their own pictures. No cutting and pasting. For fifth-grade students, they did a phenomenal job! I am so proud of them. It took us several weeks to compile,” she said.
Chancey was invited to attend a recognition dinner and spend time with WV Author Anne Pancake during the last week of September. Chancey also received $500 to spend in her classroom any way she chooses. “I am just thrilled. We write a lot in my classroom. I enter the students in every contest that works with our standards and curriculum. But honestly, we try to have fun with our writing and make it a learning experience that will provide the skills needed for successful writing in the students’ futures,” Chancey added.