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Sharing Our Expertise on Topics We Love with Heart Maps

Written by Buffy Hamilton. Posted in Wondrous War Eagle Celebrations


My Writer’s Workshop and Writing Connections students are in the process of creating their own zines on topics they have chosen; students selected topic that they are experts on and want to share their passion for through their own hand-crafted zine.   Zines are ” self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images” and can be created in many different formats.  We are crafting zines as our entry point into informational writing and will share our publications with our fellow students through the CA Media Center.

Like many teachers, I’ve been a big fan of Georgia Heard and her work for years.  Earlier this fall, I purchased her new book, Heart Maps: Create and Craft Authentic Writing; I also joined the Facebook group for the book where other educators are posting their students’ heart maps.  It was in this Facebook group that I found an inspirational mentor text for our my students from a mother who was using the tool with her son:

Screenshot from the Georgia Heard Heart Maps Facebook Group

Screenshot from the Georgia Heard Heart Maps Facebook Group

I printed 10 copies of each photo and put them in my trusty neon shop ticket pouches that I use for mentor texts so students could have copies at their desk to work from (as well as a projected copy on the whiteboard) for our noticings activity.  I also downloaded one of the nonfiction/informational templates that you can access online if you register your book with Heinemann.


I did different variations of how we approached the noticings with each grade level, but essentially, we brainstormed in small groups what we noticed about the organization of information, the information itself, and the visual qualities of the “mentor text” heart map.   After we discussed our noticings as a large group, we generated a list of the design and organization elements we wanted to incorporate into our heart maps of our zine topics.  Since our plan is to use these as the first content page in our zines to introduce the reader to our topic, we used our zine project planner we had already completed to help us set up our categories or labels for the outer parts of the map; students then aligned a nugget fact they loved most about that subtopic on the corresponding inner part of the map.

We used our #makerzine project supplies funded so graciously by our friends and DonorsChoose to begin crafting our heart maps.  Once students completed their heart maps, they cut them out and glued them onto a piece of colored paper of their choosing.  Here is a sampler of our student created zine topic heart maps from students in grades 6-8:







The students have been incredibly enthusiastic about creating their heart maps; even students who initially felt worried about crafting an image discovered the process was much easier than they anticipated.  We are now finishing our zine covers and working on our first content pages of our zines.  We look forward to sharing our zines with the CA student body after the first of the year!

Buffy Hamilton
Writer’s Workshop and Writing Connections Teacher
War Eagle Writing Studio

Chestatee Students Demonstrate the War Eagle Way by Donating Hair for Charity

Written by Buffy Hamilton. Posted in Wondrous War Eagle Celebrations


Last week, two of our students truly showed through the values of the War Eagle Way through their actions.  Students Lupita Colin and Emily Ortiz, who are in Ms. Rountree’s “Shear Genius” SOAR,  donated their hair to the Children with Hair Loss organization.  What is this organization?

Children with Hair Loss (CWHL) opened in September 2000. After researching, we didn’t find any other organizations that were giving human hair replacements to children at no cost. CWHL’s mission and goals were to never charge a family at a time when they need the most help. After years of intense fund raising, CWHL was able to purchase their first building in 2005. The headquarters resides in South Rockwood, Michigan in an old renovated fire station. Originally, CWHL’s focus was on children fighting cancer, until we found out that there were a lot of other reasons why children lost hair including Alopecia, burns, Trichotillomania and other rare diseases and disorders. To this day, Children With Hair Loss has never charged a child. Currently, we provide a customized human hair replacement and care kit to over 300 children a year.

Watch as Lupita and Emily selflessly donate their locks to children in need!







Title I Parent Workshop

Written by Patrick Pitts. Posted in Latest News

Title I Parent Workshop: Earning Academic Credits

Chestatee Academy will be hosting our Title I Parent Workshop on Monday November, 7th in the Media Center. Session I will take place from 10:00-11:00 am. Session II will be from 6:00-7:00 pm.  We hope to see you!

Making Hall County the Most Constitutionally Literate Community in the Nation

Written by Patrick Pitts. Posted in Uncategorized



Good Morning,

We are so encouraged by the response to our “Making Hall County the Most Constitutionally Literate Community in the Nation” challenge we issued on November 1st. Hundreds have pledged support at hallco.org/constitution/constitutionally-literate-community , thousands have logged on to our website  (Chrome and Firefox provide the best experience), and individuals from several nations have viewed our 90 minute Foundations of Our Nation course.