“I was reminded of how big the world is and how you can do anything if you put your mind to it,” wrote a seventh grader from Jonesport Elementary School after a visit from author Sharon Creech. What a way to express what IRW hopes to inspire in all children through literature and what fun Sharon Creech, Lyle Rig, Ruth Feldman, and Jan Coates had at the Jonesport and Beals Island Elementary Schools earlier this month. It was a full-day that focused on two of Sharon’s books, The Wanderer” and “A Fine, Fine School.”
Students had spent the previous weeks reading The Wanderer, an adventure about sailing across the Atlantic and discovering things about the world and one’s self. They dove deep into various elements of the story at every grade level. We started with a wonderful presentation by Sharon sharing her inspiration for the writing of “The Wanderer.” She showed pictures of her daughters’ transatlantic adventure, her log and sketches that inspired the story. Kids asked lots of questions and then it was our turn to ask the questions as we learned about all the ways they had connected elements of the story to their own lives and studies.
While the Jonesport school picked up on the theme of “navigating a storm” figuratively and literally, the Beals students researched other themes at the upper grades, and read Ms. Creech’s picture book A Fine, Fine, School at the lower grades.
We met scientists, news broadcasters, nutrition experts, artists and writers who told us of how they made meaning out of the story. Projects and presentations were displayed throughout the schools, allowing the author to view information about seaweed, navigation, personal storms (bullying and obesity), seafaring artwork, lobster lore – all highlighted by a musical presentation by the joint school chorus.
Many of the students commented on how they really enjoyed sharing their work with each other and Ms. Creech. They are ready and greatly anticipating a sequel and had all sorts of interesting questions for her during her visit. Her warmth, humor and creativity really came through in the time she (and her husband!) visited with the schools.
As a teacher from Beals shared, “These (IRW) books (with author visits) make reading all the more interesting. Knowing that they’ll get to meet the author really makes them ‘tune in’ throughout the whole book.” We couldn’t agree more! We think that although “Too much of a good thing is a bad thing” (as in A Fine, Fine, School), we could never have too much of Sharon Creech!
All demonstrated to this visitor the power of story to teach and the amazingly creative and thoughtful teachers and students that make up the learning communities of Jonesport and Beals Island Elementary Schools. Thank you all for a most incredible day!
Visit our Facebook photo album to view more photos, including examples of the student’s fine, fine pre-work!