Thanks to our amazing friends at Wondermore, last Friday our second and third graders had a special visit from author Paul Reynolds. Paul is the author of Going Places and the Sydney & Simon series. He is also the co-founder of FableVision Studios, a media company he started alongside his twin brother, Peter.
Paul started by talking to students about what it means to “create bravely.” He talked about his childhood and how he has been creating alongside his brother his entire life. When Paul was in the second grade he began writing stories while his brother Peter illustrated them. Students started thinking about creating with a best friend and the importance of kindness.
Paul read The Dot and shared the inspiration for the story. He told students that you don’t have to be good at everything, but it’s worth trying different things to see what you like. He talked about not giving up and doing what you love. He also spoke to students about the work FableVision does creating storytelling technology. Students asked Paul questions, including:
“What inspired you to be an author?”
“When you and your brother work together do you argue sometimes?”
“Did anything in your childhood inspire you?”
“What motivates you to keep writing?”
Paul was truly inspirational. You know it was a fabulous author visit when students were crowding around Paul asking to share their writing and coding projects with him. Teachers stopped by the library to tell me how meaningful the visit was and many students stopped by the library to borrow his books. Students learn best when they’re having fun, and Paul’s visit was definitely fun!
We know that field trips are memorable, influential experiences in a child’s life. With the help of our amazing Vertex volunteers we were able to leave the classroom and take our learning on the road. Volunteers met some of our first and second graders at the Boston Children’s Museum for a fabulous field trip.
First graders participated in a Laser Cutting workshop. Students started off by using pencil and paper to draw their own designs, and then tried copying their designs on an iPad. They were able to use laser cutting technology to engrave their original artwork on wood and take it home!
Second graders participated in “Explore-A-Saurus”, a program complementing the Museum’s dinosaur exhibit. Students examined real fossil evidence and learned what it takes to be a paleontologist. They worked together to determine what is considered a fossil and what is not. They also created their own fossil trackways!
We had a wonderful time exploring the Museum and exploring exhibits focused on science. We were all able to benefit from the resources and first-hand experiences the Children’s Museum had to offer. Place-based learning like this allowed for curiosity, a chance to answer real-world problems and essential questions, an opportunity to revise and reflect, and for collaboration and comprehension. Thank you Vertex!
We were incredibly lucky to have award winning author and illustrator Jef Czekaj visit the Shaw. Jef visited a few years ago and it was wonderful to have him come back for another fun and informative author visit. Jef’s humorous and musical writing has found many fans in the Shaw library. His book Hip & Hop, Don’t Stop! is always one of the first books to be grabbed off the shelves.
Our K1, K2, and 1st grade students spent the past few weeks preparing for the author visit by reading some of Jef’s books including Hip & Hop, Don’t Stop!, Cat Secrets, Yes, Yes, Yaul! and Oink-A-Doodle-Moo. All of that reading prompted some wonderful discussion. Students also came up with questions to ask Jef during his visit. Questions ranged from what inspires Jef to asking about how he comes up with his raps. During the visit Jef talked about how even as a kid he always enjoyed drawing and writing stories. He went into detail about his writing process and how he practices drawing on a daily basis. Jef read one of his stories aloud to the students; he played music and rapped Yes, Yes, Yaul! Teachers and students alike were out of their chairs dancing and shouting along.
Jef also showed students how he goes about illustrating characters. Students shouted out character traits and Jef combined their ideas to make a brand new character on the fly. It was fast-paced, interactive, and fun. At the end of the visit every single student was given their very own copy of Hip & Hop in the House!
Everyone is still sharing accolades with me after the visit. Jef definitely made a lasting impression on the students. It was a fabulous time and we are so grateful to Wondermore for making the visit possible.
Mrs. Keohane is the School Librarian at the P.A. Shaw. She loves hockey, going to the beach, and reading (obviously!)