USD 231

Jennifer Cusick, a fifth-grade teacher at Pioneer Ridge Middle School, gave her students "goosebumps" when she introduced them to legendary author R.L. Stine.

While lesson planning, Mrs. Cusick encountered Mr. Stine's MasterClass program and thought, "what an engaging way to learn how to write a narrative!" She viewed the trailer for the program and noticed that Mr. Stine utilizes the basic fundamental principles of teaching a narrative that she uses to instruct fifth graders. Jennifer shared, "Mr. Stine includes so many fantastic tips and tricks for writers such as generating great ideas for a story, trick the reader to make it more interesting, writing cliffhangers, creating monsters, building characters, and using descriptive language!

Jennifer shared that it is sometimes a struggle for her students to produce five well-written paragraphs. "Using R.L. Stine's MasterClass, I stretched my fifth-graders to write at least five chapters, and many wrote much more, some up to 10 chapters!! I was blown away at the high level of creativity students showed and their level of engagement!" shared Cusick.

The success of her students and their interest in the topic inspired Jennifer to share her excitement with Mr. Stine. She followed him on Twitter and noticed how active he was on the platform. Jennifer thought, "I will reach out to him and just see if he responds to me." So, Jennifer took action and shared, "This spring, I took a picture of my class holding their stories in the school library around many of Mr. Stine's Goosebumps books. I then posted them to his Twitter account, letting him know we enjoyed his MasterClass. I also shared how much my class would love to visit with him via Zoom. To my amazement, he replied. After a few emails back and forth with his publicist, I arranged a Zoom meeting with Mr. Stine to talk to my class about their project."

Jennifer couldn't wait to share the news with her students. She shared, "I was so excited to tell my class! I broke the news to them on April 1st. The timing was perfect as students thought my announcement was an April fools joke. We invited students' parents to attend, and the turnout was great."

"The students did a fabulous job interacting with Mr. Stine and enjoyed the entire experience. My hope for these students is they can share this memorable experience with their future children!” Cusick stated.