Saturday, March 26, 2011

I Love to Read Month!

Folding origami all together!
February is "I Love to Read" month, the month when I visit the most schools as an author/illustrator! I want to highlight a wonderful visit I had last month with Baxter Elementary School in Baxter, MN. Organized by two extraordinary media specialists, Sandy and Jennifer, I was welcomed by over 600 students who had read all of my books and were ready to learn how they were made and ready with great questions! My first day was a day of large presentations: slides showing my process from thumbnail sketches to final art. A movie of my newest book, The Princess and Her Panther was featured, narrated by the author, Wendy Orr, with music by my husband, Matthew Smith. At the end of my presentation we all folded origami frogs, inspired by my book, Fold Me A Poem, written by Kristine O'Connell George. This is always a great accomplishment when there are over a hundred kids folding at one time! It makes for wonderful papery-whispery sounds which just might inspire a poem! (Origami became very popular during my visit~ the second morning, Jennifer was leading "flower" paper-folding lessons to all the early arrivals in the library before the bell rang. I wonder how many paper animals are running around Baxter Elementary these days?)

Snowflake Poems!
Media Specialists Extraordinaire!

During my second day I visited several classrooms for smaller workshops. Students learned about storyboards and pagination, dummy-books and how to tell a story within the story in pictures. In my kindergarten and second grade classrooms we wrote a group poem inspired by my book, Snow, written by Cynthia Rylant. Then we cut out snowflakes with six points, never eight! and arranged snowflakes and poems on a double-page spread.

Each day I had lunch with a group of students who had written essays and poems about why they wanted to have "Lunch with the Author". During lunch we shared what we liked to write about and what sort of pictures we liked to draw. I even led a spontaneous drawing lesson one day, shoving our lunch trays aside for space to move paper and pencil.

It was hard to leave Baxter Elementary at the end of my two-day visit. I felt as if I was just getting to know everyone! A week after I arrived back home I received a packet of the most beautiful thank you cards! Thanks Baxter Elementary!
Making books in the classroom.

1 comment:

  1. This makes me want to be in elementary school, folding origami with the artist, drawing at the lunch table. Sounds like a magnificent visit!