Every year, middle school classrooms are full of students who are journeying through difficult, awkward years of change and growth. Working with middle school students is a calling that is not for the faint of heart. Colton Prism is a standout teacher who embraces the challenges of this age group and leverages his own past experiences and struggles to help those students who need an extra helping hand.
Mr. Prism teaches 6th grade English Language Arts at Griffin Middle School in Cobb County. Now in his second year teaching, he has just published a novel, The Unbelievable Adventures of Kaden & Rubik. The story is about a 10-year-old boy with autism who journeys through magical adventures with his best friend, Rubik the therapy dog.
The inspiration for this book is a culmination of relationships and experiences. Inspired by his autistic nephew, Mr. Prism wanted to write a book that children with autism can relate to. The main character is based on a student who Mr. Prism worked with as a one-on-one para during his first year in the school system. This student is on the autism spectrum, and the bond they developed over the year was something special. The dog, Rubik, was crafted from Mr. Prism’s prior career training service and therapy dogs, with a main focus on training dogs to work with children with autism.
Since 5th grade, Mr. Prism knew he wanted to be a teacher. He appreciated the teachers who shaped his own rocky young life, and he wanted to do the same for others, though he did not know exactly what that would look like. In 2010, Mr. Prism published his first book, and the puzzle started coming together as he realized he could pair his love of writing with his desire to teach. He grew excited about teaching kids how to use writing as a form of escape.
Now in his second year as a teacher, Mr. Prism has the joy of watching his students grow in reading and writing as they read the novel written by their own teacher. The classroom lessons are full of interest-driven differentiation that the students are loving. They are currently writing narratives from a character’s perspective, and daily journal entries allow them to write their own adventures.
Mr. Prism was inspired by others to write, now he is inspiring his students in unique and incredible ways. “It’s awesome seeing these kids truly appreciate learning. Using the book is an excellent way to model. Students get to review my work and tell me what they thought.” The goal is to write a 3-book series. Book two will be published next year, when the students are in seventh grade, and book 3 will be published by their 8th grade year. This will allow the character to grow with the students, and each book in the series aligns with the state ELA standards and the county’s curriculum.
Q & A with Colton Prism:
What is the most rewarding part of teaching for you?
Building relationships. Getting high-fives from students is one of the most rewarding things. I still have students coming back from two years ago to give me high-fives. When I was young, I was that student who needed the extra attention, so I understand and appreciate the importance of relationships. Now this is one of my strong suits, and I am empowering them.
What was your biggest hardship as a new teacher?
Classroom management has been a real struggle. It became much better after taking the Essentials course through Metro RESA.
Advice for new teachers:
Enforce procedures! Starting on the very first day of school, hammer down those procedures and set up a classroom of respect and rapport. That will take you further than anything else.
Advice for students:
If you have a passion, keep going for it. I was not a good writer, but it was my passion so I kept going. The quote I live by and share with my students is this:
“The only limits to one’s writing is their imagination.” – Colton Prism
How do we order your book?
The Unbelievable Adventures of Kaden & Rubik is available on Amazon for purchase.
Here at Metro RESA, we are so proud of Colton. Writing a book is no easy feat. Writing three books in three years as a new teacher is a monumental goal, and we cannot wait to see this adventure continue. We appreciate Colton’s dedication to his students and the ways he uses his own work to inspire, encourage and invest. The love of reading and writing is so important, and we are amazed at the ways Mr. Prism is bringing the curriculum to life in his 6th grade English Language Arts class.
Thank you, Mr. Prism, for bringing us an exciting novel that so many students, both with and without autism, can relate to and enjoy. Your work and dedication are a true inspiration!