Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Kindness of Author Friends

Back in October, before I had to cut and run for home, my students benefitted from the kindness of a couple of my author friends.

My first read aloud this year in my fifth grade classroom was The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan. The story of a class of fifth graders who are fighting to save their school was the perfect way to start the year. My students read along on Kindle as we listened to the full cast audio via Audible. We had great conversations about the poetry forms, the characters, and the inferences that a reader must make when reading a verse novel.

I crossed my fingers that Laura would be available for a quick Skype visit after we finished the book, but lo and behold, she was driving from Cleveland to Cincinnati and was willing to stop in Dublin for an hour to visit with my students. She brought her big binder of the book and talked about her planning and revision process. The students were wowed by the length of time it took for the book to grow from the idea stage to a published book.

The day after Laura visited, I presented my students with their very own complimentary copies of Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong's new Poetry Friday project, You Just Wait. Some immediately wanted to dive in and try out the Power Play activities and Power2You poetry prompts, while others read through the story in the poems first.

After I got back from Colorado, I met with a small group who had written poems from some of the mentor poems in the books. It was an unfortunate series of events that resulted in not being able to do more with this magnificent gift from Janet and Sylvia, but my students and I remain thankful for their generosity.


  1. Today is a good day to celebrate kindness, Mary Lee. I had a wonderful time meeting your students. Serendipity made that visit possible!

  2. Thank YOU for your constant support and for putting poetry in front of your students over and over again! Such a gift!

  3. I was able to have a Skype visit last year with Laura. Then she generously offered me personal time to talk about my own writing. Authors Rock!

  4. Thanks ML this post makes my heart happy. Plus I have a new title to read.

  5. Gifts. Gifts all around. Standing on the side of love--booklove often the most powerful--today and every day.


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