Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Photos from Schools

I have a few photos of some of the school visits I have made this past month. The condor feathers are filling in nicely with hundreds of feathers placed down by children in California and Arizona. I love the photo of the teacher doing some dots with her computer on the screen.

Here is some information about how I make my school book reading visits interactive and engaging for kids.

I really enjoy the interaction I have with kids during a reading event. I didn’t realize that it would be such a wonderful part of being published. I have now had the experience of reading my book to Pre-K through sixth graders. Each age group brings their unique perspectives and interests.

Usually I start out a reading by talking about key concepts of my book: what does it mean to be endangered; what was my process in creating my artwork; and what is magical about poetry; for older kids I talk about the process of getting published.

Then I read the poetry of the book. It amazes me how quiet and focused the children become when I read. It is like the rhythm of the poetry is soothing and comforting to listen to.

After I read the poems, I break down some of them down with the factual information in the back of the book. I point out unique characteristics and bring up any other specific information like: whether the species is specialized; what does it mean to be a mammal; how generations pass down information to their young.

Kids are amazed by size, so I get out the tape measure to show kids just how big the Mekong Giant Catfish can grow; how wide the wingspan of a Comoro Black Flying Fox is; and how small a Channel Island Fox can be. For the Mekong Giant Catfish, I ask for ten kids to come up and stand side by side to show how big the fish is.

Lastly, if we have time, I roll out a full-size drawing of a California Condor. I pass out a paper feather to each child and have them glue the feather on the bird. I explain that one feather might not seem like a lot, but combined they make a difference.

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