“Growing Gains” is a compilation of vignettes written by seventh grade students from Pine Grove Middle School. It is mirrored after Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman. In Seedfolks, Fleischman uses thirteen narrators to tell the story of the founding and first year of a community garden in the immigrant neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. This community learns, through the metaphor of the garden, that they are united, for there is always hope.
In “Growing Gains,” eight voices share their stories of lessons learned as a community at Pine Grove Middle. Through each vignette, students remember and convey how Pine Grove has truly been their “field of knowledge.” Each author, like Paul Fleischman, began their vignette with an authentic story from his/her life. They then used the creative writing process, the story’s central idea, and the knowledge of each other’s characters and stories to mold and develop new tales.
As you read this short story, discover how these eight lives merge and grow. Students, without knowing, make powerful impacts on and in each other’s lives. At the bottom of each vignette, the author chose a vegetable or flower which symbolizes his or her story. You can find these plants in Pine Grove Middle’s garden boxes.