Judith finds that working with third-graders makes her very hopeful for the next generation. “They are just so smart, and so curious,” she notes.
Judith says she loves “that ‘can-do’ attitude!” of her students.
For the past two years, Judith has worked with third-graders to create a classroom magazine. She helped them understand what a magazine is, how to choose a subject to write about for a magazine article, and how to do research on the Internet on the topic. During her time at the Haggerty School, Judith first started working with a group of extraordinary girls who used Cushing Street Magazine as a special project. During the second year, the magazine was a project of the entire classroom. Some students worked individually with Judith; others submitted essays, poems, or both that appeared in the magazine.
Her third-graders sent Judith thank-you notes for her help with the classroom magazine.
Judith was extremely impressed with the topics the students chose and by their approach to communicating their excitement about the topic through their research and writing. She remembers one boy who wrote about his topic of fighter planes in WWII with such completeness, “that it was as if he were writing a thesis for college.” Another boy wanted to condense the entire Civil War into a few paragraphs. He learned about narrowing his topic and choosing one aspect of the war that could let his classmates understand why he cared so passionately about the Civil War, and why they should, too.
In another instance, one young girl who devoured books wanted to write about her favorite series, and Judith helped her shape the material and take it to the next level.
She appreciates the enthusiasm that all students brought to their subjects, whether it was pop music or the World Cup. In approaching their topic, Judith says, “they believe they have no barriers to what they can do. I love that ‘can-do’ attitude!”
“My goal,” she said, “is to work with the students so that they can do the best work that they can do within their abilities.” As a tutor, she enjoys giving back to the Cambridge school system, and helping children, whether they are already gifted and just need those energies directed, or struggling, and needing some extra help.
Judith finds it particularly rewarding to watch students’ communication skills grow as a result of the project. She finds it fun to hear students describe how they continue to use what they’ve learned on the Cushing Street Magazine as well as to work with a new group of students and introduce them to the joys of writing.