JISD Writes Together

  • Library Services Tagline

    Celebrate Black History Month Poster JISD Writes Together Logo Writing Contest


    Our JISD Writes Together Program centers around the book What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? By Chris Barton. This wonderfully written and illustrated picture book can be accessed and delivered in many ways.

    Access the book on our Sora app. You as the teacher can use this to read to the class or you can assign the students to read the book on their own or in groups. We will have multiple copies for check out.

    Caveat - as a picture book, it is a pretty quick read. If the students use Sora, they will have to check out the book. The default checkout period is 3 weeks, please have students return the book in Sora once they are done so it is available for the next person/class. 

    Online Literary Magazine Entry and The Superintendent’s Voice of Excellence Award

    Make your voice public by submitting your original written work for publication in our inaugural JISD Writes Together Online Literary Magazine.

    Get your piece polished up and then submit it online by filling out this Google form at https://forms.gle/t7X2rnBxo51kLyT28 

    Student pieces selected for publication will be automatically entered into the running for the Superintendent’s Voice of Excellence Award.  One work from an individual student will be chosen from the elementary, middle, and high school levels.  Additionally, one work created by an entire class will be chosen for the Superintendent’s Voice of Excellence Class Award.  Individual Winners will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.  The teacher of the class chosen to receive the Superintendent’s Voice of Excellence Class Award will receive a $50 Amazon gift card to purchase something special for their class.

    Entries may be submitted in English or Spanish.

    Your school may offer additional recognitions for just your campus. Talk to your librarian to see other opportunities.

    Is it Poetry?

    Read or have students read What Do You Do With a Voice Like That? by Chris Barton.

    Is this story considered poetry? What are some elements that Chris uses that may be considered poetry? Can you create your own poetry from the following ideas or use Chris Barton’s narrative structure and create an Echo Story?

    Can you recreate the narrative with your own strength? Do you have a singing voice? Do you have a strong arm? Do you have a caring heart?

    Can you recreate the narrative with another famous person? What was Hank Aaron’s strength, gift, i.e. what can you do with a bat or arm like that?

    Other poetry ideas for creating poetry:

    Lesson Plan - Speech Analysis

    Did you know that Barbara Jordan’s keynote address for the National Democratic Convention in 1974 is in the top 10 of political speeches of all time? Read the article "King’s 'I Have a Dream is the Greatest Political Speech of The Century” to see who made the list. Read Barbara Jordan’s speech to see what you think! 

    Listen to Babara Jordan’s Voice

    Listen to the following speeches from Barbara Jordan, analyze, compare, and point out similarities within her speeches. What made her voice so powerful?

    As you listen/read to her speech, use the form from Read Write Think to analyze her speech.

    Extension Activity

    Use the Texquest Resources to find other speeches on the list and compare and contrast the two speeches.

    Writing Prompts

    The book, What Do you Do with a Voice Like That? by Chris Barton, chronicles what Barbara Jordan did with her extraordinary and booming voice. The book ends with a powerful statement: 

    “For when it has been silenced, what do we do with a voice like that? We remember it, and we honor it by making our own voices heard.”

    This is a call for our students to speak up and make their own voices heard. Get students thinking and writing about what they can do with the following writing prompts.

    50 Unique Journal Prompts for Teens (Look for the Social Justice section)

    Writing Forward


    National Writing contest 

    It just so happens that there is a national writing contest that coincides with Black History Month and our JISD Writes Together program. Check it out from the UIL Barbara Jordan Historical Essay Competition

    Entry Deadline - February 17, 2021.