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A Rainbow of Religion: People of Faith in the Pioneer Valley

School: Four Rivers Charter Public School

City/State: Greenfield, MA

Grade(s): 8

Format(s): Book

Subject(s): English Language Arts

Project Overview

Eighth grade students at Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield, Massachusetts, collaborated with the Family Diversity Project to create this book as part of a study on different views on religion and religious topics.

Students interviewed twelve leaders of different faiths in the Pioneer Valley Region asking questions about life, morality and meaning. To prepare for the interviews they first worked with a professional interviewer and learned how to conduct an interview--how to make contact, how to nod, smile, and ask encouraging follow up questions. They worked to create authentic, respectful, and open-ended questions.

After transcribing their interviews word-for-word they began a long editing process creating five or six edits to create a final draft that could be easily read and was a good piece of writing.

Each interview includes a photograph and a poignant quote drawn from the interview. The book is spiral bound and is 40 pages long.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Addresses an unusual topic in a powerful and moving way
  • Writing style is engaging and carefully done
  • Demonstrates how pulling out a specific quote can draw the reader in
  • Includes a preface that illustrates the impact this project had on the students
  • Highlights a project that engages students in the local community
  • A powerful idea that could be used in any city or town
  • Illustrates the diversity found in one community

Relevant Resources

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can write informative/explanatory texts that convey ideas and concepts using relevant information that is carefully selected and organized.
  • I can write narrative texts about real or imagined experiences using relevant details and event sequences that make sense.
  • I can adapt my speech for a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when indicated or appropriate.
  • I can use correct grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
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