Sunday, December 7, 2014

Connecting Students With Authors

Our kindergarten classes all participate in a monthly author study. Teachers read several of the focus author's books aloud throughout the month and students learn about each individual author's style of writing. Ms. Burns helps them connect to Social Studies with a mapping activity showing where the authors are from. I've been impressed with students' thoughtful observations in our Library time about the work of Eric Carle, Donald Crews, and most recently Laura Numeroff.

Laura Numeroff has an awesome website and has written a letter online inviting her young fans to write to her . How could we pass up an invitation like that? During Library class, the students and I worked together to compose a shared letter to her.  We talked about the different parts of a friendly letter, and this is what we crafted together:

Dear Ms. Laura,

We love reading your books at school and at home! We like funny books and your animal characters. We especially like your “If You” books. We noticed that you must like animals. What is your favorite animal? We like animals and pets too!

We love your artwork.  Do you like using crayons or markers better? We think you have a good imagination.  Where do you get your ideas from? We like writing stories too!


The Kindergarten kids at Vance Elementary

I didn't want them to get their hopes up too high about receiving an answer back, so I reminded them that authors stay very busy writing books and maybe...just maybe...she would write back.  I sent the letter in an email to Laura Numeroff and included a picture of Mrs. Dowers' class with drawings of their favorite characters from her books.

Sure enough, she responded in just a few days! Here is what Ms. Numeroff had to say:

Hi Kindergarten Kids Readers!

Thank you SO much for writing to me, and sending me the great photo with your stories and illustrations!

That made the e-mail extra special!

I’m very honored that I inspired you to write your own stories! You should see the big smile on my face!

You’re right! I do love animals! It’s hard for me to pick a favorite because I love all kinds! My favorites include, otters, pandas, dogs, koalas, cats, horses, and raccoons! Oh, and I forgot polar bears, chimpanzees, squirrels, and lions! And, zebras and giraffes! 

The artwork I did on my web site was done with colored pencils and magic markers! That’s my favorite way to draw! I’m glad you like what I did! My favorite artist is Lynn Munsinger, who illustrated THE JELLYBEANS series, PONYELLA, BEATRICE DOESN’T WANT TO, and, NIGHTY NIGHT COOPER! Her animals are absolutely adorable!

I’m really happy that you think I have a good imagination, because that’s what I use to get my ideas! I think I have a silly imagination, so I write books that are fun! 

I hope you all had a very yummy Thanksgiving! I ate a lot of pumpkin cheesecake and mac and cheese! I also ate ham, which I prefer to turkey!

Have a great week at school, and keep writing!


Laura Numeroff

I'm not sure who was more excited about getting a response--me or the kindergartners! We enjoyed reading her letter together in Library this week. 

Connecting with authors can be a powerful way to promote literacy.  This month the K classes are focusing on the work of Jan Brett, which is perfect for winter weather and the holiday season. 

This week at Vance we look forward to meeting an author in person! We're excited to host Melinda Long, the best-selling author of How I Became A Pirate, on Thursday. I can't wait to hear her talk with our students about her life as a writer.  She'll be staying after school to sign books at our Scholastic book fair, which runs all week in the media center. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

What's happening in the Media Center?

As the second quarter of the school year begins, Ms. Burns (our instructional technology facilitator) and I are excited to be collaborating with every grade level in some capacity! We love connecting literature with geography, helping students create digital stories, facilitating research projects, and connecting students' computer lab time to units of study.

Mrs. Burnett's second grade students working hard on continent research

The Scholastic Book Fair Arrives in One Month!

Books make fantastic holiday gifts! Every purchase at the fair benefits our school, with a portion of the proceeds coming back to Vance. This year we look forward to an author visit during the fair. Melinda Long, the best-selling author of How I Became A Pirate and Pirates Don't Change Diapers, will be here on December 11. She will talk with students about the writing process, her life as a writer, and read aloud one of her books. She is planning to stay after school that day to sign books at the fair! Her "pirate" titles will be available for purchase at our fair, and her newest release, The Twelve Days Of Christmas In South Carolina, is available for purchase at Spellbound Children's Bookshop in Asheville.

Vance Library Cards Are For Parents Too!
Do you have a parent account? It's quick and easy to set up. If you have a few minutes to come in and browse, you can check out books to share as a family. In a hurry? Grab a bag of books! These contain 7 pre-selected picture books, just enough share with your child throughout the week.

See you in the media center!