Unique Book Publishing Project Teaches Local Students Content And Advanced Skills


On April 10th, a group of Windham High School students presented their published book, Water Maine, at the Maine State Librarian Conference.

Over the course of the year, Mr. Riddle’s Earth Science class researched, wrote, illustrated, and designed the book as a learning tool for middle school students engaged in the Portland Water District’s environmental education programs.

“Water Maine engaged students, asked them to produce something real, something others could learn from,” said Riddle. “There was never really anything easy about this project, which was one of the lessons we learned. Real projects facilitate authentic learning with effective outcomes for all involved.”

Education in America and here in Maine is experiencing an overhaul; one with a focus on students showcasing proficiencies within different content areas. Within Windham’s science education, the priority is mastery of scientific "skills and practices."

"An authentic learning experience is at the heart of the curriculum as it holds the power to motivate, reach, and teach students. These experiences provide students with the skills and knowledge they will use throughout their lives,” explained Riddle.

“A project like Water Maine is a dream come true, as it offers a unique opportunity for students to consider many facets of information literacy, including copyright regulations, proper crediting of sources and relevant and reliable information they can use to teach others,” stated Windham High School Librarian, Amy Denecker.

Water Maine, a collaborative effort between Windham High School students, the Portland Water District, and other support staff, was written to share information about water in Maine and the world. In the introduction section, the students share their aspirations for the book, “we hope you take the knowledge and put it to use in your daily lives so that Earth’s water, which comes around and goes around, stays available, clean, and safe so all may benefit for generations to come.”

Photo Caption: from left to right:

Olivia Verrill (WHS student graphic designer), Dakota Ennis (WHS author), Haley Stedt (WHS author), Sarah Plummer (PWD Environmental Education Coordinator), Amy Denecker (WHS Librarian), Jeff Riddle (WHS teacher), Dorothy Hall-Riddle (consulting librarian), Julia Rand (WHS author), Bailey Card (WHS illustrator and author), Emily Algeo (WHS author).