TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Central High School teacher Pat Rutt always tries to make her students’ projects mimic real-world work as much as possible.
”As a teacher I like to put a person behind a project because it makes it real,” Rutt said.
Students in Rutt’s advertising class recently designed advertising and promotional plans for local businesses, but she assigned students in her digital media publishing class with working for a group of taskmasters no one wants to disappoint — third graders.
The high schoolers applied everything they’ve learned in Rutt’s class to illustrate mystery storybooks written by students in Terri Mattarella’s third grade class at Eastern Elementary School with Adobe design and publishing software.
The teens and younger students met at Central High School last week to review their final products, which were printed as glossy white booklets by Traverse City Area Public Schools’ own publishing service. As the teens and the youngsters sat around Rutt’s room reviewing their final products, senior Kat Trumbull said she didn’t want to disappoint Olivia Strom and Lily Jenkins, the third graders whose books she illustrated.
”I was a little overwhelmed at first because both of their books were so long,” Trumbull said.
That investment in classwork is, in part, why Rutt paired her students with their younger counterparts.
”I could see the nervousness in their faces when I handed them their books,” Rutt said. “A little nervousness is good.”
But Olivia and Lily both approved of Trumbull’s digital illustrations.
”I really liked seeing how it looks finished,” Olivia said of her book, titled “The Mystery of the Missing Painting.”
Junior Isabella Mack and third grader Clay Finch agreed their storybook turned out well, and both refereed to their partner as “awesome.”
Mack said she enrolled in the digital media publishing class because she wants to work in the film industry some day.
”It’s not exactly the same but it’s still like digital art,” she said.
Mattarella said the project gave her students a sense they were like real authors, and offered them an idea of what to expect when they enter high school.
“It was really neat for them to interact with the high school students knowing they will be over here themselves in about six years,” Mattarella said.