Ellen and a stuffed Sammy the Seal visit Charlotte, Edmunds & Whiting

Ellen Potter made a whole lot of new friends in Washington County last week when she visited the warm and welcoming elementary schools of Charlotte, Edmunds & Whiting!

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At all three schools, Ellen started the day with a presentation on being a writer and what she stores in her writer’s toolkit that helps in the work and art of creating characters and a story. What does she first do when she gets an idea? There’s a tool in the kit for that! Why is one of her tools a Thermos? Ask any of the students, and they’ll be sure to tell you!

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One of the students’ favorites among Ellen’s tools was a stuffed seal named Sammy. He lives in Ellen’s toolkit because he reminds her of a story of perseverance and its result!

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Students at each school had read one of Ellen’s books, dependent on grade level, and had many questions for her about the process of writing books and where she gets her ideas. All children also participated in a writing workshop. With younger students, she helped them to create a group story accompanied by illustration.

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When she asked this group their favorite part of Piper Green and the Fairy Tree, she received an overwhelming majority answer of “kittens.” At Charlotte Elementary School, a real, live, fluffy kitten even joined us in the classroom!

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With older students, Ellen led workshops that focused on writing scenes that created suspense through descriptive language and foreshadowing. The students exercised their imaginations and delighted each other with suspenseful details and surprise endings.

After each workshop, students had an opportunity to share, and we were able to fill sharing time with wild, inventive stories each and every time!

One student from Edmunds said, “I’m going to be an author when I grow up, so I should get some practice,” and a student from Charlotte said, “I’m going to keep writing – I have all these ideas in my head.”

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It’s refreshing and inspiring to be among so many vibrant ideas, whimsical wishes, and silly senses of humor!

At Whiting Village School, students in Grades 1 – 4 had worked with teacher Stephanie Higgins to create their own Writer’s Tool Box – tea boxes they covered and decorated and filled with ideas for writers to get inspired!

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Thank you to all three schools for welcoming us and Ellen Potter! We can’t wait to visit again.

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