Skip to main content

Helping an Illustrator with Valuable Words

I work with a gifted first grader. We don't meet much because I have to work in four different schools, so I have to make every second count. He has a wicked sense of humor, twinkling eyes, and an impish grin. His mind gets to 60 MPH in less than 20 seconds. It fires off in several directions and though he seems to be doing 16 things at once, he answers every question deeply and in a complex manner that usually ends with a joke and a laugh. He finds the fun in everything. Throwing ideas at him is a joy.

The other day I gave him this wordless picture book by Suzy Lee.
I put the book in front of him along with a pack of yellow post it notes and a pencil. "This illustrator needs you to write the words to her book. I guess she forgot," I said.

He chuckled at my joke and opened the book. In just fifteen minutes, the picture book words were written. They were breathtaking. If I could, I would show you every page. I am happy to share the words with anyone who wants them in case you want to order the book and see how each page works with the illustrations. I know Suzy Lee would be proud to have this six year old's words alongside her wonderful book.

Later we discussed present and past. I showed him some different picture books for examples and he settled on present. After he revised, I typed up his words. Then I cut each sentence strip and taped them into the book. Tomorrow he is going to read it to his class before taking it home for his Christmas present.

Here are some pictures of his brilliant work.





Comments

  1. I hear your enthusiasm and delight with your student in this post. I know of which you speak. My students are like that. And they can come up with the most clever stories. What a wonderful gift you have given this student...his own book!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I used to do that. (Some wordless books are SO HARD.) This year, I tried having 1st graders practice, then set up "recording studios" and let them record their stories using iPads.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a wonderful post! SO loved reading about your student and what an incredible idea!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

5 Ways to Help Gifted Kids Find Their Gifts

When I work with gifted kids, I'm amazed by their lack of understanding about what interests them. They know how to surf the net exhaustively for Youtube videos that make them laugh, but not what skills and practices further their interests.

Developing interests and passions is critical to these students. Many people out there tell me that this is not just for gifted kids, that their average developing child needs to know how to do this too. While of course I agree that this is true, I also think that typical academic, fine arts, and sports programs are available in most communities are enough to engage and motivate most kids. Not true of gifted children who become jaded, disinterested, and shut down quickly when a program doesn't meet their needs.
Most people think of gifted students as being prodigies who know exactly where their gifts lie. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, I often question if some children who are identified as gifted will ever find thei…

Moo by Sharon Creech

I moved to Maine in 1982. I was a thirteen year old freshman in high school fresh out of a childhood in New York City. It sounds more exotic than it really was. The Maine I moved into wasn't so rustic. The town, Cape Elizabeth, is quite upwardly mobile––think Boston suburb. I remember distinctly the day my friends told me we were headed to the Fryeburg Fair. I had been to a few Maine county fairs over the summers I spent Downeast on the coast of Maine, so I knew what to expect. The 4H clubs mesmerized me. These kids who took such control of large livestock were amazing. They knew what they were doing. They were all pig whisperers and lamb crooners. These animals I knew nothing about in the real world were kept clean, safe and show-worthy by kids who looked to be no more than nine or ten years old. At sixteen or so, I felt too old to learn how but man did I want to join that club.
Wordsmith Sharon Creech has come out with the new middle grade novel, Moo. It is kind of a verse nove…

Writing Short, Day 1

I've taken a new position. I'm now an editor and writer at a company called We Are Teachers. I do some article writing for them, but I also write very short pieces designed for emails or giveaways. I didn't think I'd like this kind of work, but I do! It brings me back to the importance of knowing how to write short. I've talked about this before, but here's the book I'm referencing:
And thank you, Roy Peter Clark, for soothing my guilt about writing specifically for the Tweet. In “How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times,” this amazing writer praises Twitter’s 140-character limit as a tool for “intelligent cutting.”
So, as a way to get better at my new craft, I'm re-reading his book and actually doing the activities at the end of each chapter. The first: Practice writing plain sentences that contain a grace note, one interesting word that stands out. ___________________________________________
As did Proteus, I move forward into change. I figure, I …