It has been this writer’s pleasure to have had the opportunity to work as Writer-in-Residence at three schools in 2012 thus far. The process is both inspirational and fulfilling as both myself and the teachers involved experience creative lightbulbs going off like fireworks throughout the classrooms!
At West Bay Elementary this year, we built on last year’s success and added even more creativity to our experience! This year, thanks to Mrs. Hunt’s dedication and research, an ArtStarts grant was secured that enabled us to work in partnership with myself and visual and cultural artist Anastasia Hendry to produce a beautifully designed and bound publication that features original fables composed and illustrated by the grade threes in Mrs. Hunt, Mrs. Sun and Ms. Riley’s classes.
Students inquired not only about the elements of fables but also about the values put forth at West Bay. Their challenge was to incorporate both of these into their own original fables as well as design and build masks of their main characters and retell their story visually in symbols in a traditional winter count. Intellect and creativity fused as students created characters such as: Mincky (who was never satisfied with what he had), Lily the Cheetah (who thought integrity was difficult but that she must do the right thing regardless) and Doug the Platypus (who found that friends are more important than money).
The finished, full colour books are now available and I can’t wait until our launch to see the looks on the author’s and parents faces when they share their first books in print! The writing, editing and publishing process elicit pride, joy and a fantastic sense of accomplishment for our young authors and their families and capture all of the imagination and energy of being in grade three. I’m proud of all of you. Special thanks to the teachers, Mrs. Hunt, Mrs. Sun and Ms. Riley for always encouraging their students to envision horizons for themselves that go beyond that of an average classroom.