Friday, January 25, 2008

Three Necessary Elements

On January 22nd and 23rd I visited St Helena Primary School in the damp, overcast but still beautiful Napa Valley. My mission was to meet with every 1st grade class and be present when they all took three necessary elements:
1. A plain sheet of paper
2. Some sort of drawing tool
3. Their imaginations
Because 1st graders are natural artistic geniuses, my main goal was to get them started and then stand out of their way.

In a picture bo
ok there are a just a few firm rules, a few of them are:
1.The main character should remain recognizable from page to page.
2. Time should appear to pass in a logical way.
3. The story momentum should move forward.

They began with 2 sheets of paper, folded and stapled. That made a simple 8 page book: a cover, 3 interior spreads and a last page. They used pre-cut shapes to represent a character that remained consistent through the book. Some 1st graders understood the concept
completely and filled their books, while others struggled with the 1st spread.
It IS a complicated task and I was thrilled to see how many 1st graders already understood so much about story telling.

Thank you, Lisa Montelli, 1st grade teachers and the whole St Helena Primary School community for welcoming me and allowing me the privilege of 2 whole days in your midst.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Miniature Miss Bindergarten

Sally Lonn wrote to me and sent these
photos. I think this is
the most
"Doll House" I've ever seen!
Thank you, Sally!
"About two years ago I wrote to you about creating Miss Bindergarten in miniature. I worked in the scale one inch equals one foot. I found a fabulous doll artist, Annie Willis from Surrey, England who captured Miss B. and her parrot just perfectly. I exhibited this scene at the Seattle Dollhouse September show:
and won a second place prize
The room box spent time in the Kindergarten class I was subbing in for a month and the next several we
eks at the Dollhouse Cottage in Kirkland, Washington. It was a huge hit with the children where I was teaching and other classes came for a visit too. Teachers are asking me to take it to their classrooms next September, which I hope to do. I hope you will feel that I was true to your illustrations. I added some details that reflect my own classroom of 13 years.

Behind the teacher desk is a whole cabinet of supplies, paste bottle, pencils, markers, crayons, and scissors, ready for use. In this day and age I couldn't forget a computer. I made many of the furniture pieces. On the tables are real puzzles, books and alphabet cards. By the door is a hamster in his cage. I don't know how much detail you can see but I hope you enjoy looking."

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Farewell Cocoa

Along with the new babies, 2007 brought losses.
On Christmas day in the morning, one of the princesses of Bernal Hill left us for the Happy Hunting Ground.

Cocoa Jenks was quite a girl and she will be sorely missed by her mom and dad, Leslie and Nigel, as well as all her many friends.

Good Dog, Cocoa!