Writing Camp

Hello!  We are Melanie Hendon and Denise Outen; first grade teachers at Rhea Elementary.  Writing is a passion of ours both in and out of our classrooms, and we can’t wait to share a week of our summer with you working on writing!  During this exciting week, we will be working through the writing process to write and illustrate individual stories which will be published into hardback books.  Along our writing journey, we will inspire ideas, shape organization, spark voice, expand word choice, develop sentence fluency and strengthen conventions.  Finally, once our books have been published we will have a presentation spotlight where community and family members will have the opportunity to see the final product of our amazing authors and illustrators.

Check the Summer Series Information Page for specifics on registering and available dates, times, and fees.


Instructor Bios

My name is Melanie Hendon and I have been teaching first grade for eleven years. I graduated from UT Martin in 2005 with my B.S. degree in Elementary Education and earned my Master’s degree in Reading and Writing in 2015. Working with children and sparking an enthusiasm for learning is my passion. I continue to fall more and more in love with teaching every year!

I began my teaching career outside of Atlanta, GA where I lived for 6 years with my husband, Jeremy.  Once we had our son, Regan, in 2010 we moved back here to my hometown of Paris.  Regan is now 7 and we have a 3 year old daughter named, Piper.  They are full of fun energy and, in our spare time, we love being outdoors in the garden, working in our flower beds or taking walks.  During my rare quiet time I enjoy reading for pleasure and also for professional reasons.  I want to be a lifelong learner!  I look forwards to teaching my first class at Lee Academy this summer where I know I’ll make new friends and fond writing memories!


My name is Denise Outen. I have been teaching for 11 years. I graduated from the University of North Carolina with a master’s degree (Elementary Education).  I’ve been a part of the Paris Special School District for the past 3 years. My prior teaching experience was in North Carolina.   

I have been married to Brian Outen for 27 years.  We have two children, Joseph, who is 25 and Bethany who is 19. We also have a 3000 pound bull, Buddy, that is a very important part of our family.

When I am not at school, I enjoy working on our cattle farm in Como, running marathons, and visiting my children in Knoxville and Murray at college. My passion is spending time in the classroom teaching young writers. I look forward to creating a book with your child this summer. I love to see my students grow into confident writers.