MNES Students Now Award-Winning Authors

MNES Students Now Award-Winning Authors
Posted on 08/29/2019

One accomplished group of 19 third graders at Moss-Nuckols Elementary School recently earned a new title they can share on their resume for years to come: they are now award-winning authors!


The group earned the honor as part of a special project they actually completed as second-graders in teacher Dana Nemec’s class. Each spring semester, Nemec works with her students to write and illustrate their own book, which she then has published so students can share the finished project with family and friends. This year, Nemec submitted the group’s final product to School Mate Publishing.


School Mate Publishing works with hundreds of schools to publish thousands of books each year, and annually selects 15 classes to receive a $100 award. This year, Nemec’s class was one of those groups!


On Wednesday, August 28th, Nemec announced the good news to the young authors, who have since moved on from her second-grade class and are now highly-accomplished third graders!


“I was really surprised when I opened up my email and found out that our book from last year was selected,” Nemec said. “Even though it can be a stressful process working on the book each year, it is so rewarding! When the published books arrive, I get excited as the students, and it’s awesome to see how proud they are of their hard work!”


And while the students can take pride in their accomplishment, the entire Louisa County Public Schools community can take pride in the book’s name and theme: “Kindness Counts.” Throughout the book, Nemec had students write about nice things they could do, think, and say.


“I thought kindness would be a great topic since that matches our school division’s focus,” Nemec said. “Before the project, we had already discussed ways to spread kindness throughout the school year, so that helped our students have an idea of what to write.”


Book publishing is a speciality at Moss-Nuckols Elementary School. In fact, each school year, every second-grade class at Moss-Nuckols Elementary School creates its own book. The process remains mostly the same each year. Students start working on the book at the start of the second semester, which coincides with scheduled lessons about the writing process. Students are responsible for creating rough drafts, editing their work, making revisions, drawing illustrations, and settling on the final copy.


Each year, Nemec says the responsibilities draw out a similar level of achievement from students.


“Every year, my students realize how important it is,” Nemec said. “They’ll write the neatest that I’ve ever seen them write, and they always do an amazing job on their illustrations!”


School Mate Publishing assists in the process by providing templates and writing prompts that teachers can use to guide students along through the process. Books are submitted in late March or early April, and the 15 lucky winners are announced over the summer.


Nemec said one way she likes to make the project even more fun for students is by personalizing the project for them. Each of her group’s books included an “All About the Author” section, where students were able to share a photo of themselves and fun information, such as hobbies, their favorite classes, and details about family and friends.  Nemec also reserves the last few pages of the book for photos of the class having fun and collaborating throughout the year.


Once complete, Nemec mails the completed book to School Mate Publishing. Within three weeks or so, the finished, published product has arrived and is in the hands of a very proud group of second graders.


“The students are always so excited to see what the final product looks like,” Nemec said.


In this case, it was a final product that will benefit Nemec’s students for years to come. Nemec is using the $100 prize to purchase materials for her classroom, including a wooden table and chair set as well as flexible seating items.


And a prize that is perhaps even more important than the $100 award was also clearly evident on Wednesday, August 28th when Nemec made the announcement to her students: a sense of pride.


“We’re going to be famous!” one of her proud students exclaimed.

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