Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 22 - Author Candice Fleming visits my school!

What a treat my last day at school before beginning Spring Break was!!
Author Candice Fleming visited.
You can learned lots about her and her 30 books at:

First she greeted our Kindergarteners and read them two awesome picture books. I loved hearing a student voice say, "That's a pattern book!" It made me think that we have taught them well during Writing Workshop.
Seven Hungry Babies and Oh, No!
When my next friend has a baby, Seven Hungry Babies is going to be my new Baby Shower cute!

Then with the 1st and 2nd graders, she told them she is a writer just like they are and uses the same tools. She got the kids to name off some tools -  pencil, black marker,brain, paper. Then she told them that her two most important writing tools are HER EYES AND EARS! "I pay attention to everything around me. I have my eyes and ears wide open, looking for stories". She told how she got the story idea for Oh, No! while on vacation in Asia. While traveling, she met many "friends" - animals in the jungle. And then these became the characters in the story.

She pointed out that she just writes the words. Another person, an illustrator, makes the pictures. She shared some of the illustrator's sketches made with just a pencil and pointed out that they also used the eraser often. Just like a writer drafts a story and revises, so does an illustrator!

Sh shared how another story idea was inspired right in her backyard! She was planting a garden but bunnies kept getting into the garden. She added a cute fence, but that didn't keep them out. She added a really big fence, but that didn't work either. She used all these ideas from her life when she drafted the story that eventually became known as Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!
 and then she made a sequel, Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, Hide!
and then she shared with us that a third is coming out soon - the bunnies go to the BEACH!!!

When it was the 3rd and 4th graders turn, the told them that she used her EARS and EYES one day while taking her son to the beach. They saw seagulls, a birthday cake and strawberries on top. Later when she started to write a story with these 3 random objects, her niece suggested that it also have a princess in it and her son suggested that it have a big hair Troll in it. Now she had many random ideas. She used her imagination with all the things she saw and heard with her EYES and EARS and created Clever Jake Takes a Cake - truly, a very clever imaginative book! And I find it more fun now knowing that her inspiration for the story came from that day at the beach!
Clever Jack Takes the Cake 
She also shared how her mother told her the story of how when her mother was a girl, WWII was going on. Her mother recalled sending a box with soap, socks, and a Hershey bar to Europe to show she cared about the kids who were suffering due to the war. She got a thank you note back from Katje...which inspired Boxes for Katje.

She told the students that she began writing when she was their age in school and she shared her 4th grade school picture and her writing folder from that time. She proudly showed us the blue ribbon (now faded to purple) that she won when her teacher sent one of her stories in for a contest.

The last hour of the school day, Candice Fleming spent with the 5th and 6th graders. With them, she shared her work as a researcher and a biography writer.

Candice had the students fascinated with history by showing them many Primary Source documents...Amelia Earhart's report card, a birthday invite written by Mary Lincoln for Willie's birthday party, Amelia's marriage certificate, a telegram from the President to Amelia, and a tracing of Abraham Lincoln's feet so he could have shoes made. These PRIMARY SOURCES helped her historical figures come to life for the students! She encouraged them, when doing research, to ask lots of questions and then search for primary source information. One great place to start is The Library of Congress website:

While Candice was at our school, her husband was visiting another FCPS. He is an illustrator!!
Be sure to check him out, too, at:
What a gifted family! What a great FRIDAY!!

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