Hawthorne students write with purpose

On Aug. 2, Bobby Hawthorne pushed students in his class to forge through the roughest portion of the instruction. The students covered the sexting seminar on the evening of Aug. 1, and prepared for the Lansing Roller Derby Vixens press conference on the evening of Aug 2.

Students of "The Bobby Hawthorne Experience" work on their sexting essays. The essays presented a challenge in which they were to be constructed from a non-factual, news essay point of view.

Jane Hess from Grosse Pointe South High School described the class as “difficult” and “very intense,” and even spoke about how she was “a little stressed” because of the time gap from the previous time she had written.

“I’ve kind of forgotten some of the tricks of the trade, but I feel like it’s coming back to me,” Hess said. She also spoke about how she hopes to improve her writing skills, specifically with the flow of her writing. “I also hope to see more consistency in my writing,” she said.

Erica Hambaugh from Niles High School said she also feels the pressure of the class.

“Things are getting pretty difficult now, especially with (the Aug. 1) assignment from the sexting (seminar),” Hambaugh said. “We had to describe it from a not factual, news essay point of view.” However, Hambaugh said she can already see a large change in her writing.

Many students along with Hambaugh said they have noticed drastic changes in their writing. Samantha Myers from Oxford High School spoke about how the 300-word scenario essays helped improve her writing.

“We learned how to type direct-quotes and incorporate them into our stories,” Myers said. “Most of my quotes were just random, I never really knew how to do it. I used to just ask people for their names and that was it.”

Hambaugh said she also noticed a change. “I’m an opinions columnist, so I’m used to saying, ‘This is what I don’t like. Agree with me.’ and rambling on with words that really mean nothing,” Hambaugh said. “Now you could say I write a lot more concisely.”

Even Hawthorne said he could see a drastic change in his students’ writing.

“They’re getting it. They’re so used to writing a certain way, a school way. It’s sort of over-written. It’s puffy,” he said. “I’m saying ‘no puffy, get to the point’ don’t tell me. Show me.”

In preparation for the Derby Vixens press conference, Hawthorne taught his students to ask questions that provoke stories for a response.

“It’s not writing, it’s reporting,” said Hawthorne.

He then introduced the 30-second story concept. This idea promotes asking questions that provoke answers that sum up large stories into small ones that could fit into a 30-second time frame. After using a personal story, which required the assistance of a plush angry bird that he mistakenly called an “ugly chicken,” the students warmed up to the method quickly. By Taylor Hale / Upstart Staff

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