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Third-graders turn seniors' lives into fairytales

The students interviewed residents at a retirement community and wrote stories about them.

PHOENIX — The pandemic has kept students home from school and teachers have to get creative with their online classes.

Third-grade students at Phoenix Country Day School have been interviewing some of the seniors at Cadence Living retirement community – through Zoom – and then turned their lives into fairytales.

Their teacher, Gina Saltonstall, says the project was a great way for students to develop collaborative skills.

"Then it works on all the language arts skills of writing and creating images in your writing, fluency and flow and comprehension, just so many things," said Gina Saltonstall, a third-grade teacher at Phoenix Country Day School.

"One skill that I think I strengthened; it would probably be communication," said Ali Leinbach., who co-wrote, “The Tale of Arline and the Bookmark Dragon” with her third-grade classmates.

Besides the education aspect, Saltonstall says her students really connected with their senior counterparts. Despite their age difference, they learned they have things in common.

“This was the biggest shock of the whole project. One of the boys had just finished a non-fiction book and it so happened the senior he was paired up with was a veteran. The connection they had was just amazing,” said Saltonstall.

Ali had a connection with her senior.

"Between me and Arline, like we both really like reading books."

Because of the threat of COVID-19,  the seniors at the community can't go out or receive non-essential visitors. Rob Leinbach, one of the owners of Cadence Living, says this interaction with the students helped connect residents to the outside world.

"It is really important for us to help them connect to the outside community. They're reading tablets and doing Skype with their families and this is another way to connect with others in the community,” said Rob Leinbach.

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