Wow, it was such a fantastic day! In the morning, we did a short writing activity. We all picked a random food and wrote two different descriptions of it. Our task was to make the food sound as delicious as we possibly could, and then also as disgusting as we possibly could. Some of the foods described included marshmallows, pizza, eggplant, cheese, pancakes, strawberries and doughnuts. After sharing these descriptions aloud, some of us might’ve changed our opinions on these foods! After writing, we played some games to use up our energy before Renee Watson’s visit to discuss This Side of Home.
Renee started her author visit by reading us a poem about where she’s from. It had a great rhythm and amazing sensory detail, using all five senses. We could see, smell, touch, taste, and hear Renee’s three homes: Oregon, Jamaica, and New York. Renee asked us to brainstorm a few places we call home, and then we created our own poem about those places using our five senses. It was really meaningful to get a glimpse of each other’s childhoods, our roots, and the places where we feel safe and happy. However, as Renee wisely mentioned, sometimes our definition of “home” is bittersweet. Our hometown might have some unpleasant qualities, too.
After writing and sharing our poems, Renee read us some passages from This Side of Home to spark our Q&A discussion. She told us all about her inspirations for the book, and also showed us a galley (advanced readers copy) of her upcoming novel, which will be published in February 2017. After our discussion, we took an author photo and got our books signed by Renee! It was a truly special visit.
After saying goodbye to Renee, and thanking her for spending time with us, we all went out to Riverside Park to eat lunch and play Capture the Flag. We’re grateful the heat has been manageable lately!
After lunch, our teaching artist, Nicole, showed us a project she’s been working on for quite a long time. The project was related to The Secret Sea by Barry Lyga, who will be our author visitor tomorrow. Nicole runs a website called Underwater New York, where writers, artists, musicians, and filmmakers tell stories inspired by the waterways that surround New York City and the objects submerged within them.
Using photos and descriptions of some of the objects, we all created our own creative artwork and stories. There were some truly fascinating, strange and mysterious objects found in places such as Dead Horse Bay.
After the creative exercise, we had some free time to read, play games, or continue working on our Underwater New York projects.
We’re excited to meet Barry Lyga tomorrow, and for our field trip to Random House!