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Story Angels Bridges the Gap Between Generations

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The Story Angels project is part of the Fullerton School District’s iPersonalize curriculum in Narrative Writing and Listening.  Fifth-grade teacher, Angela Platon, said that when she was young, her grandparents were the best storytellers and she thought that by pairing the younger generation with the seniors from Morningside Retirement Community, it would be a great vessel for the district’s iPersonalize curriculum.

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90 fifth grade students from Fullerton School District would work in teams of 4 and be partnered with a senior from Morningside who would share a life-changing story from their past.  The goal of the students would be threefold.  First, the students would meet with their seniors and take notes on their stories.

Then  the students would work as a team to ask the appropriate “why’s and how’s” to make sure they knew all the details of the story.  Students would then return to school where they had to write a first person narrative of the senior’s story.  Drafts were sent back to the seniors so they could edit.  The teams would then select the best narrative that would be read when the students returned to Morningside.

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My daughter and I were invited as guests to this special media event to watch these stories be read and filmed.  I felt truly blessed to be part of such a special event and to have my daughter listen to these amazing stories.

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The students brought their smartphones and iPads to create these digital biographies.  The teams reconnected first with their seniors on the outside patio and then were taken into meeting rooms, where they could record the seniors retelling their story.

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Patsy Zima told of her life on a farm and having a goat as the family pet.  Jack Pletka retold his time of hiking the John Muir Trail, which, by the way, is 211 miles and is part of the Pacific Crest Trail!  Heidi Hamilton told of her time battling polio and of the surgeries she had as a child.

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I was touched by Betty Lundgren and her story of being a dancer with the USO during World War II. Betty was very kind and took some extra time to sit with me and daughter and tell us of her time as a “toe-tapper.”  To be given the gift of someone’s family history through beautiful stories provides a unique connection for every generation.

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Fullerton School District and Morningside Retirement Community will hold an event next month where the students will share their completed projects with the seniors, the senior’s families, and their own families.   The students will present their final digital biographies to the seniors who partook in this amazing project.

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Morningside is a continuing care retirement community for people aged 60 and older.  Offers a variety of housing options and comprehensive package of services, amenities, and activities.

Story Angels is a project that touched my heart, and I think we could all benefit from taking the time to listen to the “storytellers” in our lives and capture these stories on paper, audio, and/or video.

Chantile is a wife and stay at home mom to an amazing little girl. She is active in her daughters school, enjoys volunteering and is always looking for her next marathon or triathlon to tackle
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