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FMS hosts ‘Author Days’

Farragut Middle School teacher Karen Rehder has a history of beginning class projects that take on a life of their own — and she has done it again.

A few years ago, Rehder decided to get one of her classes involved in the C-SPAN Documentary project, which has become a prize-wining tradition at FMS.

This year, her eighth grade reading class wanted to be involved with a project as well, so she came up with another idea — “Author Day,” which was held Wednesday, May 13, and Thursday, May 14, at FMS.

“This class wanted to do a project because they had heard about C-Span. I was listening to N-P-R one day and they were talking about someone in Florida who had a big book fair, and I thought it would be a good idea to have some authors come in,” Rehder said.

Always a proponent of teaching her students to be independent thinkers, she set them to the task of organizing the event.

“We compiled a list of area authors. The kids wrote letters asking them to come and participate.

“The kids have done all the planning. They got into tactical teams and put it all together and I have just been the overseer. It is something that they are doing and they feel like they have a major stake in it,” she added.

The class decided in order to make the event as successful as possible they needed 34 authors.

“We ended up with 30. So we were a little bit shy, but we were amazed at how eager people in this community, these writers, were to come in and share their experiences with students,” Rehder said.

Authors and writers who participated in the event were: Ric Morgan, Cheryl Carson, Leslie Snow, Martha Woodward, Alex Gabbard, Ed Sullivan, Amanda Womac, Jennifer Aldredge, Trevor Owsley, Sandy Loy, Debby Schriver, Beth Haynes, Ellen Hubrig, Mary Bozeman Hodges, Charlie Daniel, Sam Venable and Dr. Bill Bass, to name a few.

Rehder said she feels as though this project benefits the school as a whole more than the C-Span project because more students get to participate.

“They are asking really good questions. With Charlie Daniel, one of the kids wanted to know, ‘Do you write with your emotions? Is that what dictates what comes out on the page?’ And someone else asked, ‘Do your characters use your voice when they are speaking?’ I think those are pretty thoughtful questions for an eighth grader to ask,” she said.

Rehder already is planning for next year’s event.

“We may expand it in different artistic areas for next year. A couple of other teachers and I were talking about how neat it would be to involve the art department and the music department and just have a whole week of community members come in and share with the students,” she said.


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