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The science of writing

link Derek Major: Staff photo

ENMU Professor Geni Flores, center, and fifth-grade teacher Cynthia Flores-Gonzales sit with the winners of their essay contest, from left, Josue Vargas, Carmelo Nunez, Zayra Alvarada and Angela Plascencia on Thursday for their working lunch.

Staff writer

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Every year, fifth-graders at Lindsey-Steiner Ele-mentary School take a field trip to the wetlands at Goodwin Lake Trail in Clovis. This year, teacher Cynthia Flores-Gonzales tied a writing assignment to the trip.

“The kids have been writing in science journals since the year started and I wanted their writing to be more scientific. So when we went on the field trip, I told them to write three paragraphs about the trip and the winners would get to have a free lunch with each other,” Flores-Gonzales said.

The four winners — Zayra Alvarada, Angela Plascencia, Carmelo Nunez and Josue Vargas — were rewarded with a “working” lunch with their teacher and Eastern New Mexico University Professor Geni Flores, who judged the stories and picked the winners.

“At the beginning it was hard to do. We had to write three paragraphs on what we saw on the trip to the wetlands and the video we watched. I didn’t know I was going to win, but when I found out I was excited,” Vargas said.

Flores looked for specific things when picking the winning stories.

“I read their journals and I was looking for which ones were coherent, gave a lot of detail and we let spelling slide a little bit; so those were the ones I picked,” Flores said.

The students were given sandwiches and chips, provided by Principal Rick Segovia, and Flores-Gonzales brought some ENMU pencils for them. The reason it was called a working lunch is they kept working on their Spanish accents while they were eating.

“In Spanish writing it’s really important to use accents, and I was telling them that sometimes when you have a word and you don’t put the accent on it, and it needs one, it could change he meaning of the word. So I gave them examples of that,” Flores said.

Flores-Gonzales hopes that programs like the luncheon will encourage the kids in her classes to continue writing and Flores agreed it can be a benefit.

“We want them to keep writing and keep in mind that when they go to college, not if, they’re going to have to be good writers when they get to college,” Flores said.