What’s Good: Former SBCSC teacher returns to South Bend with new book

Updated: Feb. 16, 2022 at 5:45 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) -Marshall Traditional School 5th graders are learning about techniques to spice up their creative writing from someone who once taught kids just like them at South Bend Community Schools.

16 News Now tells us why these students were “geeking” over their latest lesson.

T.P. Jagger says they probably learned more from watching him talk about creative writing than by listening to him.

So it might not be too surprising to learn his main lesson to these kids is how to write a better story by showing, not just telling.

Face, hands, and feet.

The ‘Hide & Geek’ author says you can learn a lot about someone by paying attention to those three things.

He widened his eyes, covered his mouth with his hands, and started to tremble at the knees, asking the group to guess his emotion.

Following a unanimous correct response of ‘scared’, he proved that you can write about how someone is doing or feeling without actually saying ‘scared’.

“When I go-ahead to write my own story, I don’t have to tell you a character is sad. Maybe, they just drop their head, or their eyes go down, or there’s a little tear,” said ‘Hide & Geek’ author T.P. Jagger.

I could tell you all about the ways Jagger inspired these young writers today, but I’d be missing the point if I didn’t show you.

“You can say what he’s doing to show how he’s acting. He was stomping around and he had his fists clenched,” said Marshall Traditional School 5th grader Charlotte White.

“Say he’s stomping into the building. You would say that instead of he angrily went into the building,” said Marshall Traditional School 5th grader Preston Swartz.

A writing technique he points out in his own book, ‘Hide & Geek’.

“Kevin pulled his knees tighter to his chest without raising his head. He kept pounding the stick against the statue. A handful of papers clutched in his other hand,” Jagger read from ‘Hide & Geek’.

He also revealed that his Michiana upbringing inspired many of the characters and stories in his book.

“A lot of the characters like Gina and how she found Sauce, it was like his own story,” said Marshall Traditional School 5th grader Anthony Woodson.

And what does a visit like this mean to these fifth graders?

The reaction says it all.

Jagger says he has a second book in the works he expects to be on shelves in early 2023.

He says this book all got started during his teaching days.

He says he started writing one page per week with his students to teach them some of these same techniques.

Before he knew it, he had a pretty good basis for ‘Hide & Geek’.

You can find a copy of the book on the publisher’s website.

Copyright 2022 WNDU. All rights reserved.