Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Author Kate Messner & the Spider Center

Hi friends!

Our school just had the most delightful author visit with Kate Messner! She was so friendly to our students--her presentations were engaging and captured our students' attention--our teachers loved the way she talked about writing and revising---it was GREAT! She talked about keeping a writer's notebook, about observing what happens in your daily life, adding sensory details. She autographed books for our students and teachers.

Know what else was fun? She loved our spider center in the library. Really! She blogged about it right here.

Last week in our library (during the author visit), I had the spider center (you can read more about that here) set up in our library. The tarantula was wandering around his tank (slowly...very slowly). A poster board at the table displayed our writing prompt, with markers for writing or drawing responses. When we filled up one poster, I started another, gluing some of the best responses from the first poster onto the second poster for inspiration.

Our writing prompt was inspired by Doreen Cronin's Diary of a Spider. I asked students to imagine that they were the spider and to write or draw what the spider would write or draw in his journal. Kate Messner's author brain focused in on how this library center was good practice for our students with point of view!

I have to agree with Kate that the funniest entry from the point of view of our furry tarantula was "I need to shave my legs!" Others included, "Help! I'm trapped in a box!" and "I'm a teacher. I teach how to build webs." It was fun to see what the students thought the spider was thinking.

Next time I have a live animal in the library, my writing prompt will be to ask a "what if" question about the animal. Kate Messner mentioned in her presentation that this is an important question that authors ask. So, someone might ask, "what if this animal escaped from his tank?" or "what if this animal could talk?" I can't wait to see what our students come up with!

Do any of you have authors visiting YOUR school this year? If not, why not? It's an amazing experience for your students and teachers. I would love to help you overcome the obstacles to making this happen for your campus!

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