Everybody Has a Story Fox Creek Elementary First Grade


Fox Creek first graders are making the world a better place through our learning expedition, Everybody has a story. In this expedition, students develop skills in active listening, narrative writing, and relationship building by pro-actively interacting with senior citizen members of our community. Students are helping to make our world a better place by engaging with their grandfriends by sharing their personal life story, and learning about their grandfriends personal story. This experience is meaningful in the lives of both the elderly grandfriends as well as in our students.


Our passion behind this project is the inter-generational connection between community members. Through the project, we hope for our community to become more connected between our school and the senior living center. We believe that this is an important opportunity for students to show compassion to each other and our community members. Our passion is that students will learn the importance of listening to others, connecting with others and learning from each other, especially our older generation.

"The importance of having a grandfriends was to have fun with them and having a grandfriend meant to share the love that I have with them and my family!"- Fisher- a Fox Creek first grader

"This year I was a part of a special group of boys and our grand friend Mr. Frank. Frank shared stories with the boys about adventures with his horse Blackie, the mischievous horse he rode to and from his one room school house in South Dakota. We also heard stories of how a special teacher inspired a boy to love to read and learn through the book Heidi. And we got to see the actual book and the sweet note she had written to Frank all those years ago. Frank's wife had passed and I can tell the boys brought him great joy. He said he has all the boys cards and crafts hanging in a special place in his office...aka..extra bedroom at Lincoln Meadows. We all enjoyed the visits and time together by the fireplace."- a quote from a first grade parent

Mastery of Skills

Through this expedition our academic goals are for students to write a personal narrative, go through the revision and editing process, and understand and apply the concept of story elements. All students begin this process through reading and listening to stories. Students then get to apply their understanding of story elements both in reading and writing. Once students have applied their understanding of the story elements in their own personal narrative, they are able to go through the process of revision and editing. From there, students are able to embark on the hard work of recording a grand friend's own personal narrative. Another academic goal for our students is that of high quality work. We believe that the arts are important for students to experience. Through the process of high quality work, students continue to practice the process of revision in order to produce a high quality personal narrative and a high quality portrait.

"This is important work, it's important for kids to learn about different generations." Barbara- A grandfriend from Lincoln Meadows


In this expedition, students develop several Habits of Character, specifically compassion, perseverance, and collaboration. Students learn the importance of showing compassion while learning about others "life journeys" and communicating with people who are different. Students show perseverance as they go through the revision process of their personal narrative stories as well as portraits of themselves and their grandfriend. The revision process includes going through multiple drafts, giving and receiving feedback and revising their work over a 6 week period. Finally, students collaborate with peers in small groups to meet a grandfriend and give kind, specific and helpful feedback to create high quality work.

Top row: These photos show the process that first graders went through. First, students independently drew a picture of themselves without guidance. Next, with the support of our art teacher as an expert students were given specific directions to create an accurate drawing of their face. Then, students received peer feedback to make revisions to their work using a class created criteria list. Bottom row: The bottom photos show the process that students went through for both their personal narrative and their grandfriends narrative. Students first wrote a draft to tell their story or their grandfriends story. Through peer feedback and class created criteria lists, students made revisions to their writing. Both the high quality portrait and the grandfriend narrative are given as a gift to the grandfriend to remind them of the importance of writing memories down.


During this expedition, students persevere to refine their work through multiple drafts. First graders use peer critique and criteria lists to guide their revision process. At the end students are proud of their work that is both beautiful and authentic. Craftsmanship in their portraits looks like: accurate colors and size, specific details of physical features and high quality coloring(staying in lines, no white space, same direction). In the personal narratives, craftsmanship looks like: accurate conventions, staying one one topic, story elements, and detail words. At the end of our expedition, the students present their grandfriends with a special card containing a portrait of the grandfriend and the grandfriends small moment story both created by the first grader.

"The grandfriend experience opened all of our eyes to see life in a new way and from a new perspective. It also reminded us to enjoy the little moments, laughter and time we have with one another. It's an experience my kids and I will always treasure."-a quote from a first grade parent


Through this learning expedition the students learn the importance of a gentle smile and a hug, both of which brings joy to our grandfriends. Students get to share about their own life and learn about the grandfriends. By learning about the stories of both their peers and their grandfriends, the students learn that each of us have a story to tell. To help celebrate the special memories from our grandfriends’ lives, we will be presenting our grandfriends with a journal. The students high quality drafts of their grandfriends story will be left inside the journal with a special note to inspire our grandfriends to continue to write their memories down for others. We hope that by inspiring our grandfriends to know that their stories still matter that they will continue to share their stories to those who will listen and can value their importance.

"Ava's experience was with a sweet woman named Lois and her husband Dwayne who was dealing with memory issues. Ava and some of her first grade friends from different classes grew to love the grandfriends as we shared stories and special chats. I'll never forget the story about the squirrel named Chipper and about how he became a special part of Lois and Dwayne's life as they fed him peanuts and he looked forward to seeing them each day. The girls grew in story telling and writing over the year and also grew to appreciate a different perspective on life. There was a lot of joy and giggles from every generation represented. -a quote from a first grade parent"

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