Education: Great Human Power or Magic

An innovative program sparks the writing of America's children

As school starts this fall in Tununak, a tiny Eskimo community on the windswept coast of Alaska, Teacher Ben Orr is planning to invite elderly storytellers into the classroom so his young students can learn and then write down traditional legends and lore of their vanishing culture. For Donna Maxim's third-graders in Boothbay, Me., writing will become a tool in science and social studies as students record observations, questions and reactions about what they discover each day. In Eagle Butte, S.D., Geri Gutwein has designed a writing project in which her ninth-grade students exchange letters with third-graders about stories they have...

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