ROCKWALL, TX – April 16, 2021 – Students at Jones Elementary recently took a variety of virtual field trips throughout the school day. Students in fifth grade “visited” author Alan Gratz, who gives live presentations to schools every month. Gratz discusses his writing process, including how he plans out a book, how long it takes to research, and what he does when he encounters writers block.
Also included in the presentation were the backstories to his books. Gratz told the back stories of his various historical novels, including Grenade and Refugee.
“It was very interesting to hear all of the stories about his books,” said Ms. Allison, a fifth-grade teacher. “It really caught my attention and I plan to read Grenade when I get a chance.”
“He was a story teller,” said Ms. Burnett, a fifth-grade teacher.” His explanation of his writing process helped me show the students that planning before writing is important.”
Students in the younger grades “visited” the Kennedy Center to attend a theater performance. Students in the bilingual PreK enjoyed Cenicienta: A Bilingual Cinderella Story. This play used puppetry, Spanish and English, and tackled themes of cultural heritage, family, and the power of language.
The first graders enjoyed Leonardo and Sam: The Terrible Monster and the Most Scaredy-Cat Kid in the Whole World, Respectively. This play is produced using puppets and is based on a Mo Willems’s tale of a not so scary monster.
After “attending” the performance, students in Ms. Lewis’s class made their own monster puppets.
“My favorite part was that the monster had to make his own movies after the movies broke,” said Chyna, a first grader. “I liked watching him do that.”
“I loved how they taught us how to make our own puppets,” said Stephanie. “It was like they were talking to us.”
It’s good that the students were able to visit an author and the theater this year from the safety of their classroom.
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