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.

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