"The power to see straight is the rarest of gifts."
Award-winning nonfiction children's book illustrator Bob Marstall and I collaborated on two pilot studies with teachers and students in the Whitney Point (NY) school district. Our work emphasized the skills of organized observation. These key skills taught students to look closely and think carefully about what they were observing and then communicate their new knowledge and understanding through drawing and writing.
Click on the series of slideshows below for an overview of our first collaboration.
1. Professional Development Session
2. Observation Skills Lessons
After Bob's initial visit, teachers instructed students in the observation techniques, guiding them through a series of inquiry-based lessons with their model organism, the African violet. In addition, students participated in three science-based lessons that focused on the care, structure and life cycle of their flower.
Bob returned to work with students 6 weeks after his initial visit to teach students his process of illustration. He worked with each group of students toward the goal of producing an 8-page illustrated book, demonstrating, step-by-step, how to create accurate and detailed images based on their words. At our school’s Family Literacy Night, parents were invited to browse the gallery of students' displays.