Weilenmann students publish a book about values
They say they learned more about things like respect and responsibility
Summit County has a new group of published authors: fifth-graders at the Weilenmann School of Discovery.
One of the school’s fifth-grade classes recently released a book called “Values: Important Values in Life and What They Mean to Us.” The book, which the class worked on for much of the school year, features the students’ perspectives on values such as responsibility, courage, honesty and respect and includes accompanying artwork to illustrate what the ethical standards mean to them.
Nina Silitch, the class’s teacher, said she had always wanted one of her classes to publish a book. She was inspired to make that goal a reality after her college roommate wrote a book about values. Silitch used that as a blueprint for the class’s effort, which included large discussions about each value before the students put their thoughts on the page.
“I wanted to tie it into their own lives, but also the environment here at school,” she said. “The kids really did own this project. I think that was a huge empowering thing for them this year, and the fact that everybody was a part of it.”
For the students, the project was enlightening. Their parents had taught them about each of the values, but they enjoyed digging deeper into each one.
“We learned that there’s more to the values than what we thought there was,” said Isaac Wells.
Added Griffen Rogers: “We learned that important values in life can make people happy.”
In Silitch’s view, the discussions were the best part of the project. The hope, she said, is that people who read the book — both children and adults — will learn about each value through the lens of the students.
“I definitely appreciated their perspective on this and their outlook,” she said. “For them, walking their sister to school is responsibility. It’s fun thinking about those littler things that seem like a strong value for 10- and 11-year-olds.
“I love hearing from every student and listening to their ideas and what they feel is important, like generosity or respect,” she added. “As teachers, we’re trying to infuse them into their everyday lives because, ultimately, if a student goes away with a strong sense of values, we’re doing a good job. I feel that’s very important.”
The book was released late last month on Amazon for $19.99. Proceeds from the book will be funneled back into the school to support other programs. As of the end of last week, the book was already proving successful, with revenue approaching $200, Silitch said.
“It’s neat to see the royalties and how much they’ve earned so far,” she said. “That’s really fun.”
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