In preparation of two-time Caldecott winner Sophie Blackall’s visit to Beals Elementary School on April 22, the school hosted the Beals Historical Society in their gym for a presentation of lighthouse projects from fifth-eighth grade students. These students researched lighthouses from Boston Harbor Lighthouse to West Quoddy head, wrote papers and created posters with findings from their research. If that wasn’t enough, they had also painted pictures of their beacons in art class all in preparation of Sophie’s “Hello Lighthouse” tour. One student even created a beautiful 3-D model of a lighthouse!
The gallery walk format led to fine discussions with the students where we learned about lighthouse ghosts and the reason for the tower and Fresnel lens changes at Portland Head Light. Many students are related to lighthouse keepers and have a personal interest. Principal Chris Crowley is also tied to keepers and had family artifacts on display including a light keeper’s logbook. Also on display were all of the books IRW has brought the school through its author/ illustrator visits! The evening ended with ice cream sandwiches for all and a viewing of the video “Light Spirit.” We can’t wait for April 22 to see what the rest of the Beals kids have in store for IRW and Sophie.