Grade 7 students are writing American History-themed poems in their Social Studies class. As a warm up activity girls wrote a free write with the prompt, Poetry is. In less than five minutes Emily M. wrote the above poem.
In our class we studied Author Crafts and focused on what an author does to make a book powerful. Some authors we studied were Mo Willems, Jan Brett, John Rocco, Amy Krause, and Scott Magoon. Examples of Author Crafts are BIG and small text in speech bubbles, thinking bubbles, and strong words to paint a clearer picture of the character or what is happening in the book. After we studied these authors, we made Author Craft posters to teach our classmates more about these special crafts. I like Author Crafts because I get to study what an author does to make their books shine! We are adding what we learned to our writing in wordless picture books to make these published books even better! We are now making a class book and next will make our own.
Guest post by Grade 2 student, Maya K.
On Monday, author Dashka Slater spent the day and evening speaking with parents, faculty members, and students. All faculty members and Grade 8 students recently read her thought-provoking book, The 57 Bus.
The 57 Bus is a: riveting nonfiction book for teens about race, class, gender, crime, punishment, and tells the true story of an agender teen who was set on fire by another teen while riding a bus in Oakland, California.
Best-selling author Dashka Slater has been telling stories since she could talk. An award-winning journalist who writes for such publications as The New York Times Magazine and Mother Jones, she is also the author of nine books of fiction and non-fiction for children and adults.
Her New York Times bestselling true crime narrative, The 57 Bus has received numerous accolades, including the 2018 Stonewall Book Award from the American Library Association and the 2018 Beatty Award from the California Library Association. It was a YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Finalist, an LA Times Book Award Finalist, and the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Young Adult Book of the Year, in addition to receiving four starred reviews and being named to more than 18 separate lists of the year’s best books, including ones compiled by the Washington Post, the New York Public Library, and School Library Journal.
Highlights of her visit included:
-A small group of Grade 8 students had lunch with Ms. Slater and were able to ask in-depth questions about: the writing process, interviewing people for the story, being unbiased as a writer, specific content choices, many other aspects about the book.
-With the Grade 8 students, Ms. Slater often created a back and forth discussion, engaging with our girls, as they shared their viewpoints on how the book was written.
-Ms. Slater led a conversation about the power of restorative justice with Hamlin faculty members.
-Ms. Slater explained how she sought to tell the “whole story,” for both the victim and the perpetrator, asking the reader to hold both stories at once.
-Ms. Slater cited that 1 and 250 people are transgender, about 1 million Americans, adding that 77% of transgender youth have been harassed at school.
-Ms. Slater cited that between 2003 and 2013, African American juveniles were more than 4 times as likely to be incarcerated as white juveniles for the same crime.
-Ms. Slater shared that she was surprised and heartened by the level of compassion that the two families (victim and perpetrator) showed each other throughout the book-writing process.
To learn more about Dashka Slater and her book, please visit: https://www.dashkaslater.com/
On Tuesday, Katherine Rundell dazzled students in Grades 3-5 with an eclectic presentation that stirred the imagination of everyone in the room.
Katherine Rundell is the author of Rooftoppers, Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms (a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner), The Wolf Wilder, and The Explorer. She grew up in Zimbabwe, Brussels, and London, and is currently a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. She begins each day with a cartwheel and believes that reading is almost exactly the same as cartwheeling: it turns the world upside down and leaves you breathless. In her spare time, she enjoys walking on tightropes and trespassing on the rooftops of Oxford colleges.
Highlights included Ms. Rundell:
-Describing swimming next to pink dolphins in the Amazon River
-Sharing the importance of including detailed descriptions of food when writing books
-Describing the taste of a tarantula as a mix of burnt hair and dirt
-Describing the way a wolf smells and breathes
A couple of Katherine Rundell quotes:
“Don’t let me people tell you that your stories are too unlikely.”
“A good book makes the world disappear, if you keep looking you will meet that book!”
To learn more about Ms. Rundell and her books, please visit: https://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Katherine-Rundell/410789881–
On Wednesday we welcomed acclaimed author and illustrator, David Shannon. He spoke with our girls about where ideas come from, did some of his beloved drawings, and answered student questions. Mr. Shannon also read his newest book, Mr. Nogginbody Gets a Hammer.
David Shannon was born in Washington, D.C, in 1959. He grew up in Spokane, WA. David liked to draw as soon as he could hold a crayon. He went to Hutton Elementary school where his teachers soon realized that if they let David draw murals it would keep him from disrupting class and their classroom would have some pretty good art on the walls, too. David eventually graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena where he majored in Illustration. In He sold his pickup truck and moved to New York City in 1983 to start a career in editorial illustration. David’s work appeared in many magazines and newspapers, including Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times, as well as numerous book jackets and posters. In 1988 he illustrated his first children’s book, How Many Spots Does a Leopard Have?, by Julius Lester. (Btw, Leopards have two spots – dark ones and light ones.) After illustrating several books by other authors, David was encouraged to try writing his own stories. His first book was How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball, which was named a New York Times Best-illustrated book in 1994. In 1999 the semi-autobiographical story, No, David!, received a Caldecott Honor. David has written and/ or illustrated over 35 books for children. He lives in Los Angeles with his Wife, Heidi and his daughter, Emma.
To learn more, please visit: http://nodavidshannon.com/
Emiko K. (Grade 1) recently won a global poetry contest. Her poem was selected from over 20,000 submissions by Japanese children worldwide across several categories. Emiko speaks Japanese at home and lives in Japan every summer.
As part of their curriculum, students in Ms. Taptich’s class write “Small Moments: Stories From Our Lives.” Emiko was able to include specific details in her poem because of her in-class learning.
Below is Emiko’s winning poem.
Lammy My Treasure (Translated from Japanese)
Lammy is my treasure.
She was my mom’s stuffy.
She became mine when I found her in the secret drawer.
I was 3 years old.
She makes me feel joy and happiness.
When I’m at school my rabbit, owl, and chameleon babysit her.
She rides on the airplane with me to New York City and Japan.
Thank you so much Lammy.
I Love You.
On Tuesday, Drew Daywalt and Scott Campbell spoke with lower school students.
Drew Daywalt is an award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling children’s author whose books include The Day the Crayons Quit, The Day the Crayons Came Home, and The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors.
Scott Campbell creates paintings, illustrations, comics, kid’s books and video games. He has published numerous comics and created paintings that have appeared in galleries and publications around the world.
Mr. Daywalt and Mr. Campbell shared a humor-filled presentation and talked about their creative process. When developing the character Sleepy (from Sleepy, the Goodnight Buddy), the two spoke on the phone, discussing various ideas for the illustration. Mr. Campbell then sketched 40-50 different versions of Sleepy before coming up with the final depiction. On the writing side, Mr. Daywalt spent a month editing the story until he was very happy with the narrative. Mr. Daywalt also shared that the main character in Sleepy was modeled after his 9-year old son.
The two men read Sleepy to the girls and demonstrated how to do a couple of drawings from the book. The assembly was a tremendous hit, our students were cheering and very excited to get a behind the scenes look at how books are created.