Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Thanks to the Lawrence PTO and to the BEF!

Two recent items to be thankful for:

First: Our 3rd - 5th graders visited with author Barbara O'Connor on Monday, April 14. Mrs. O'Connor is the author of How to Steal a Dog and The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis and 15 additional titles. She reflected on how she became an author, told students that her favorite writing technique is "show, don't tell", and engaged them in some spirited writing exercises demonstrating "showing, not telling".

Mrs. O'Connor was very impressed with students' articulate questions about the craft of writing. Among their questions were: "Where do you get your ideas?"; "Do you ever start a story and then not think it's good enough to finish?"; "What do you do when you run out of ideas in the middle of a story?" She suggested that they ask themselves "What if...?" and said that she has found that that question frequently gets her imagination flowing. She described how challenging it is to get her work back with lots of comments from her editor. 

She also showed us some objects that she has incorporated into her books: a ruby that her son found in a ruby mine when he was young, a small dog pin that she's had since she was a child, and a music box in the form of a bird in a nest of flowers. She offered the possibility to students that they could do the same--choose an object or event from their own life and incorporate it into their writing. She explained how much better you can describe an object that you know well--the goal being describing things well enough that the reader can visualize the object. 

This visit was funded by our PTO and we are so grateful for the opportunity for students to meet a published author who can provide them with concrete ideas they can bring back to their classrooms!

Second: The BEF generously funded six Nooks and many ebooks for our library. I am currently working with special education staff on rolling out the use of the Nooks with their students as a way to pilot the devices. This methodical way of beginning to circulate the devices at Lawrence will allow me time to work out the "bugs" that we may encounter before opening up the devices to a wider audience.

The ebooks are currently available to anyone who may like to view them on their iPad or computer. To reach them, go to the library catalog: catalog.brookline.k12.ma.us; click on "Lawrence Library"; choose "Follett Shelf" on the left hand side of the screen. You may choose to open any of the ebooks. If asked for a password please use "lawrence" as the login and "lawrence" as the password.

We are grateful for the BEF for the opportunity to further develop our ebook collection and to have some devices to loan out to our students and teachers!