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Innovative Educator: Getting creative with writing in the classroom

"We have a fun curriculum," said one of Ms. Lam's students.

MERIDIAN, Idaho — Creative writing is a subject some of us took in high school or college, but at Hillsdale Elementary School in Meridian, some 3rd and 4th graders are getting a head start.

Lurinda Lam teaches the Gifted and Talented (GT) combo class at Hillsdale. Students say she's always coming up with innovative lessons.

"We have a fun curriculum," said Abigail Larson, who is a 4th grader in Lam's class.

For the past 11 weeks, Lam brought in the Writers in the Schools program into her classroom. It's a program run by The Cabin that puts local authors in classrooms.

"They hear from parents and teachers all the time, so to have another source there for encouragement and learning and empowerment is such a great opportunity," Lam said.

"The best part really is making a connection with the classroom teacher and have a chance to figure out what is going on in this classroom and how can we collaborate," said Heidi Kraay, who has been the WITS teacher in Lam's classroom.

Lam says the progress made through the program has been amazing.

"When we started the program we had some kids that didn't even want to write a sentence or paragraph," Lam explained. "A lot of times they are nervous to write. They're afraid their ideas aren't good enough, and with the GT population that's likely doubly so because they have those perfectionism tendencies. 

So, it was really hard for some of them to write, and we ended the program with some of them reading paragraphs they've gone back and revised and edited."

It's an accomplishment Lam's students are proud of and they credit her.

"All I know is she's one of the best teacher's I've ever head," Abigail said.

Lurinda Lam is this week's Innovative Educator.