POLLIWOG inspires sisters to create a book at Farragut Primary in Knoxville, TN

I spent the day at Farragut Primary in Knoxville, Tennessee, on January 19th, 2012.

Farragut Primary's Librarian, Wendi Lesmerises (left), Tammy Bronson (middle), and Matthew Bronson (right).

With over one thousand Kindergarten through 2nd grade students at this school, the librarian and teachers did an outstanding job sharing my stories with all the children prior to our visit.

Farragut Primary's Gym

We needed a very large space to accommodate five classes at a time (~150 students), so we set up in the school’s gym.

8:00-8:30  (Kindergarten) 5 classes

8:40 – 9:10  (Kindergarten) 5 classes

9:20 – 9:50  (Kindergarten, 1st grade) 5 classes

10 – 10:30  (1st , 2nd grades) 5 classes

10:40 – 11:10 (1st grade) 5 classes

11:20 – 11:50 (1st , 2nd grades) 5 classes

Lunch Noon – 1 PM

1:10 – 1:40 (2nd grade) 4 classes

1:50 – 2:20 (1st , 2nd grades) 6 classes

My program is designed to inspire children to create their own picture books. Generally kids make their own book after my visit, but at Farragut Primary two sisters combined their talents to create their own book prior to my arrival.

Tammy (left) with author Abigail King (middle) and her teacher, Katie Wheeler (right).

The author, Abigail King (2nd grade), said that my book, Polliwog, inspired her story entitled, Lilly Pad the Tadpole. Her sister, Jessica King, illustrated their story.

Lilly Pad the Tadpole, a picture book by Abigail and Jessica King at Farragut Primary.

Many thanks to the King sisters and Abigail’s teacher, Ms. Wheeler, for giving me this imaginitive story. I’m glad Lilly Pad learned to swim!

Read Abigail’s book, Lilly Pad the Tadpole (PDF).

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My Visit to Crockett Elementary, January 18, 2012

I visited Crockett Elementary in Franklin, Tennessee on January 18th. They have over 640 students in pre-k through 5th grade, so I set up in the gym where I spoke to one grade level at a time.

Tammy (left) and Crockett's Librarian, Julia Andrews (right).

The librarian, Julia Andrews, prepared the students for my visit, introduced me at the assemblies, and provided me with lunch. I really enjoyed her tour of their amazing library.

Crockett Library's Reading Nook with Puppets

Many of the books are organized by topic. Books in a series have their own shelf. So do the “Princess” books!

Ms. Andrews and her shelf filled with "Princess" Books.

Ms. Andrews painted the walls to look like a castle.

Mural at Crockett Elementary

The murals were painted by another artist, but Ms. Andrews designed each mural with a variety of characters from beloved books.

Another Mural at Crockett Elementary

Thank you Crockett Elementary for a great day! I look forward to my next trip to Franklin, Tennessee.

Schedule:

8:50 – 9:35       Kindergarten and Pre-K
9:40 – 10:25      First Grade
10:30 – 11:15      Third Grade
11: 15 – 12:15      Author’s Lunch
12:15 – 1:15       Fourth Grade
1:20 – 2:05        Second Grade
2:10 – 3:10       Fifth Grade

Art and Questions by 4th Graders at Nolan Elementary

Mrs. Daniel’s 4th grade class at Nolan Elementary (Signal Mountain, Tennessee) gave me a wonderful set of pictures based on my books. Here is a sample of their work and answers to their questions.

Keegan drew the above picture of Sea Horse. His question on the back of the picture reads: “How did sea horse hear coral, a plant, singing to him?”

Great question, Keegan! Coral is not a plant. Coral looks like a plant, but she is actually a group of tiny animals. A choir or chorus is an organized group of singers, and since Coral is an organized cluster of tiny animals, I thought she ought to sing like a choir.

Learn more about why Coral sings in the story by reading Coral as Greek Chorus. You can also visit my other blog (seahorserun.com) or click on a question or link below to learn more about corals:

What is a coral polyp?
How do polyps eat?
How are corals named?
Why are corals important to sea horses?
Do coral polyps have eyes?

Preslee likes my jellyfish. I like Preslee’s jellies (above), too!

Nick also drew jellies (above). Nick asks, “Why did you pick jellyfish for the dedication page?”

Jellyfish can be a symbol for acceptance, so the appearance of jellyfish before the story even begins foreshadows or predicts that acceptance will be an important theme in the story. The poor Sea Dragon is misunderstood! Sea Horse learns to ignore gossip and accept Sea Dragon for who he really is.

Mae Mae says, “I love that you write about animals.” I love Mae Mae’s snail (above).

Emily asks, “How did a snail (or snails) inspire you to make TINY SNAIL?”

Scroll down for the answer (after the next picture).

Emily’s question is popular because Connor also wants to know, “Why did you pick a snail to be the subject of your story?”

I chose a snail because I wanted to write a story about perseverance which means continuing toward your goal even when you’re discouraged or experiencing hardship. Snails are a symbol of perseverance, and since I didn’t see many books about snails, I knew TINY SNAIL would be a great book!

Sara likes the characters in POLLIWOG so she drew them (above).

Jackson’s picture says, “I really like how you use the details in your drawings.” Jackson, I love your details, too! Your use of line and color is wonderful. I like how you filled in the water with blue lines and  divided the water from the sky. This is a great picture.

Jack wants to know, “Why did Polliwog not like his legs?”

Polliwog was born a tadpole without legs. She used her tail to swim, and when she suddenly grew legs, she didn’t know what they were for. Her new legs scared her. Why would she need legs? Of course she would need them when she left the pond, but remember, Polliwog did not want to leave the pond. She wanted to stay in the pond forever.

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Many thanks to Mrs. Daniel’s 4th grade language arts class for drawing such wonderful pictures and asking great questions. I’m so glad you enjoyed the stories!

A Visit to Nolan Elementary in Signal Mountain, TN

My visit to Nolan Elementary on Tuesday, 17 January 2012, was a great success thanks to PTA member Melissa Barrett. A former teacher, Melissa is the Classroom Enrichment Chair for Nolan PTA, and she did a fabulous job preparing teachers and students for our visit.

Melissa Barrett, PTA (left) and Tammy.

Home of the Knights, Nolan Elementary has an enrollment of approximately 679 students in grades K-5. Perched atop Signal Mountain outside Chattanooga, Tennessee, the school’s picturesque setting is surely an inspiration for both students and staff.

Mosaic art by Nolan students in the auditorium windows.

The halls and windows inside the school are covered with murals and student art.

A reading nook near the Nolan office.

Nolan Elementary

K & 1st grades: 9:10 – 9:50

2nd & 3rd grades: 10 – 10:45

4th & 5th grades: 10:55 – 11:45

We had a great time speaking with grades K-5 about writing, illustrating and publishing children’s books. Thank you Nolan PTA for inviting us to your school!

More Links:

Hamilton County Schools