Tim Federle, author of Better Nate Than Ever and Five, Six, Seven, Nate talked to the 5th and 6th grade on Wednesday. We were excited to hear about his books, his experiences on Broadway, and his advice for a successful career.
Students were eager to share their dreams with Tim and he noticed that MCDS students are not afraid to dream big! We had future fashion designers, sports stars, authors, actors, and entrepreneurs. Tim also acknowledged the students who haven't quite made up their mind yet. He then let us in on a secret he learned when he first decided to be an author: it's okay to change your dream!
Time for a break! Everyone stood up on one foot and spelled their name with the other.
Tim asked students to share their writing difficulties with the group. We had a lot of brave students who listed everything from learning differences to adding the right amount of detail. Tim shared his own writing difficulties as well and reminded students that a rough draft can always be polished and not to be afraid to start over. We also had a lot of students that were confident writers. They shared the ideas behind books they're working on right now!
Time for everyone to concentrate as they tried balancing on one foot for 30 seconds with their eyes closed.
Tim asked everyone to share their natural talents. There was a wide range of responses from gymnastics to engineering. He reminded us that without hard work natural talent can only take you so far. If you have a natural talent you should actually work twice as hard to make sure that you're the best you can be.
Everyone got a signed copy of Better Nate Than Ever. The students were so excited that some started reading it on the spot!
Tim read a passage from Better Nate Than Ever about auditioning. He shared his own experiences both as someone auditioning for a role and as a choreographer watching young dancers audition. He shared the three things that make you stand out on Broadway: perseverance, optimism, and being supportive of others. He suggested that students practice in suboptimal conditions. He reminded us that it takes a lot of no's to get to a yes. Finally, he told us a story illustrating the importance of being kind to everyone you meet.
Some students had more questions to ask Tim after the assembly was over. We all enjoyed his visit and engaging, interactive presentation. We'll remember Tim's message to work hard, persevere, and be kind.
MCDS 3rd graders have been busy thinking critically about picture books! We learned all about the history of the award, the criteria, and the judging process. We read and analyzed past winners to see why they won and how the illustrators made the pictures. Then we read 13 new books that are eligible for the Caldecott this year. Each student had a voter packet to make notes and judge each book based on the following categories:
How well the pictures tell a story
If the style of the pictures matches the story
The details of the pictures in showing plot, character, mood, and setting
How well suited the pictures are for children
When the last book was read it was finally time to vote! We discussed how important it is for judges to be objective and not just vote for their personal favorite. Then we had a secret ballot where each student marked their first, second, and third choice for the Caldecott. Just like in the actual Caldecott committee, a book received four points for each first place vote, three points for each second place vote, and two points for each third place vote. When the results were tallied, we had a winner: Bagram Ibatoulline for The Matchbox Diary! For more stats on how each book fared and the individual class winners, click on the infographic below to enlarge and view it.
Who: Gene Luen Yang Where: San Francisco Public Library 100 Larkin St. San Francisco, CA When: 2pm-3:30pm February 1st, 2014 What: (from the site's description) "Two-time National Book Award finalist Gene Luen Yang discusses his New York Times best-selling graphic novel diptych about China's Boxer Rebellion, Boxers & Saints, which the Times calls "remarkable." This groundbreaking story explores the Boxer Rebellion from both sides simultaneously -- which was right? He will discuss the conflict inherent in writing such a multifaceted story. Graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. He was already an established figure in the indie comics scene when he published his first book with First Second, American Born Chinese. This book’s critical and commercial success, along with its status as a National Book Award finalist and winner of the Printz Award, catapulted Yang into stardom as a major voice of our times." More: http://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=1014108301
Who: George O'Connor Where: Claremont Library 2940 Benvenue Ave Berkeley, CA 94705 When: 4:30pm February 7th, 2014 What: (from the site's description) "In volume six of Olympians, graphic novel author/artist George O'Connor turns the spotlight on Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Look for the same thoroughly researched and wonderfully accessible comics storytelling as O'Connor tackles the story of the Aphrodite from her dramatic birth (emerging from sea-foam) to her role in the Trojan War. O'Connor has outdone himself with this volume: the story is riveting and the artwork is beyond compare. Greek mythology has never been so vivid!
George O'Connor is the author and illustrator of the picture books "Kapow!" and "Ker-splash!" He spends time in his secret Brooklyn, New York, hideout--where he uses his amazing artistic powers to strike fear in the hearts of bad guys everywhere!"
Who: Marissa Meyer Where: Book Passage 51 Tamal Vista Blvd Corte Madera, CA 94925 When: 6:30pm February 7th, 2014 What: (from the site's description) "From the bestselling author of Cinder and Scarlet comes the third book in the Lunar Chronicles. In Marissa Meyer’sCress ($18.99), Cinder and Scarlet are fugitives plotting to overthrow the wicked Queen Levana. Their only hope is Cress, a brilliant hacker who has spent her life trapped on a satellite by the evil queen." More: http://bookpassage.com/event/marissa-meyer-cress
Who: Daniel Handler Where: Book Passage 51 Tamal Vista Blvd Corte Madera, CA 94925 When: 7:00pm February 13th, 2014 What: (from the site's description) "Why We Broke Up ($15.00) tells the story of Min Green and Ed Slaterton. They are breaking up. Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated (art by Maira Kalman) and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped. Daniel Handler has written three novels under his own name, including The Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth, and Adverbs, and many books under the name Lemony Snicket, including All the Wrong Questions, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and the picture book 13 Words. He was dumped at least three times in high school." More: http://www.bookpassage.com/event/daniel-handler-why-we-broke
A new year is beginning, which means it's almost time to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! To help prepare classes for our annual assembly, we have been reading books about the Civil Rights Movement with them. We've shared and discussed the book Let Freedom Sing with every class K-5 and one additional book, depending on the grade. We found a video of the author, Vanessa Newton, performing with the book and have had fun listening to her sing. We discussed ways both big and little to let our lights shine by showing kindness to others and doing the right thing, even when it's hard. How can you let your light shine?
Even with winter break we checked out almost two thousand items last month and resolved 73 tech help tickets! Comics are approaching picture books for most popular section, but haven't overtaken it yet. Gingerbread books were popular as students participated in Home Sweet Home here on campus.