This week was so jam-packed with activities and events, we can’t believe it’s already Friday! This week both Mr. Crabb’s 7th grade History class and Ms. Nellis’ 9th grade History class spent some quality time in the library researching projects. The 7th graders continued to work on their collective learning projects based on various topics such as animals, plants, and technology while the 9th graders worked on their Indigenous Peoples project. On Tuesday author and alum Victoria Loustalot visited for a lunch time chat where she talked with students about the writing and publishing process, experimenting with genres and writing exercises to get writing.
On Wednesday Mrs. Bornmann’s and Mrs. Eustace’s classes were in the library to work on their Scientists in the Field research. During lunch time we held our monthly Book Club, which you can read about here. On Thursday Ms. Melinson’s advisory and the Chinese Club celebrated Chinese New Year with chow mein, dumplings, and Chinese sausage with rice. Friday was the Sophomore Moratorium, the day where the 10th graders take over the library and work on their Sophomore Projects.
Mrs. Eustace brought her pup Mali for a visit!
This week, Ms. Nellis’ 9th grade History classes visited almost every day to work on their Pre-Columbian Americas research projects. On Monday Ms. Melinson shared with them how to start an outline for the presentation component of their project and the rest of the week was spent looking at sources and researching indigenous cultures.
Monday was also National Puzzle Day which meant is was time for Ms. Melinson to bust out the puzzle! This year’s puzzle features an elaborate library that even includes a puzzle in the corner.
Wednesday featured a guest speaker, New York Times sportswriter Karen Crouse. Ms. Crouse spoke to the members of the Octagon staff about her new book, Norwich: One Tiny Vermont Town’s Secret to Happiness and Excellence, as well as how she got started in sports journalism and some notable stories from her career.
Thursday the Glass Knife held a meeting where they planned for the upcoming Valentine’s Day bake sale – look forward to that happening on Monday, February 12th!
Friday was the all-day Sophomore Moratorium. Students spent the day working on their projects and getting help from teachers while also listening to presentations on outlines, rubrics, and how to make a presentation.
Last week we were pleased to have illustrator Lisa Brown visit SCDS. She has illustrated such books as The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming (a Glass Knife traditional read every year!), Picture the Dead, Vampire Boy’s Good Night, and many more. She also may or may not be married to the elusive Lemony Snicket.
Lisa spent the morning talking to Lower School students about drawing, and gave a great presentation to Middle School about where she gets ideas for her characters. She shared that she finds a lot of inspiration from everyday people (especially in airports and coffee shops!), as well as old photographs. Then things got colorful when she had the Middle School audience help her come up with a story based on a couple of old photographs. What a treat!
We also enjoyed having the 7th Grade science class in the library all week as they worked on their biomes projects. Look at them go!
We were also pleased to send off our food donations to the Dyer Kelly food drive—High School students were encouraged to bring in bags of non-perishable grocery items for World Food Day. We had quite the collection taking over the library office!
On Friday, October 4th, we had a Skype visit with Jordan Sonnenblick, the author of Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie, which was this year’s required summer reading for middle school.
Jordan talked to us from his kitchen in Pennsylvania about the origins of Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie, and how he shaped a lot of the characters from people he knew in real life. He based Steven on himself and said Jeffrey was based on his son.
Many students asked Jordan some really great questions–about his writing process, how he deals with writer’s block (he said he would like “to jump off a cliff” sometimes), and how he manages to be a writer and a dad at the same time. He talked about being a musician and how that also inspires his writing. He had some great tips for all the writers in the audience (query letters, oh my!)
We enjoyed our Skype visit with Mr. Sonnenblick! His new book, Are You Experienced? was released on September 3rd–come on down to Matthew’s Library to check it out.
Children’s book author and illustrator Ashley Wolff visited with our Middle School art class when she was on campus to visit our Lower School students. She taught the artists about forward momentum (making sure the action in the pictures faces the right, so that it is set up in the same way we read, left to right). She showed them how to prepare two-page spreads keeping in mind the gutter (the fold in the center of a book). Because heads, hands, feet, and small illustrations can get lost, any great detail should be kept clear of the gutter. She also had them draw pictures that touched on all four sides of the page. Then she showed examples from her own books where she did one in block prints with watercolors and another in collage (she used pages from the Farmer’s Almanac for an apron and a flyer from Lucky’s for the clothing). It was interesting to learn about all the things a book illustrator has to keep in mind when creating artwork.
Guest author and former Country Day headmaster, Selden Edwards, came to our High School Book Club meeting on November 14th. He entertained the faculty and high school students with the story of how he got his first book published, which definitely made clear just how dedicated you need to be to become a published author. In the evening he spoke to a group of about 30 Country Day faculty, parents, and friends, and signed copies of his books. Many thanks to Selden for coming to visit. If you haven’t yet read The Little Book or his new book, The Lost Prince, you can come by the library to check out a (signed!) copy.