Bookmaking at Bret Harte Elementary

(In-Schools Program)

Dec 3,2013, 1:20 PM - 2:40 PM @ Bret Harte Elementary School

Dear incredible 826 volunteers,

First of all, THANK YOU for stepping up to work with Bret Harte students! We are so excited to have you in our midst, helping to shape students’ writing. Our little corner of this city has its challenges, but the students are resilient and people like you who make writing more relevant to the real world, are helping them make the connection that writing is not only a lifelong skill, but can also be enjoyable.

Here is a little description about the project: we are planning to submit some handmade books for the Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking competition this year. The winners of the competition will have their work showcased at the Jewish Contemporary Museum, whereas other non-winning submissions will also be on display at the Main Branch of the public library.

The class you will be working with is a 5th grade class comprised of Samoan, Latino and African American young people. They have already had an author’s publishing party for their autobiographical essays, and have written a couple of mini-books so far. I will need help with their thinking through revision, editing, and fine-polishing. Since these books are works of art, the illustrations and the writing will need to be tended to with great detail. I spoke with Ms. Guggenheim, their fearless teacher leader, and she and I thought that examining the genre of persuasion and argument might be interesting to our students. The first session, students will have a chance to think of a concept, and will consider the following questions: Are they persuading their peers, parents, relatives, or community members about an issue? What are the pros and cons of their stance? What is the counter argument? How will they package their argument to make the reader take their stance? They will work on their first draft, and then plan to revise the following visit. The last visit will be about presentation. The students will have to consider placement, color, illustrations, letter size, about what will make their argument stand out from the others. I will have a couple of mini-book samples for them to consider for the format (your ideas and materials are welcome!)

The project submissions are due February 14, and I hope that you will see some our students’ work in lights in the Spring!

Please contact me if you have questions, and thank you again for supporting our students and their writing!

Maureen Sullivan

Contact Christina Perry, Programs Director, with questions.

Grade: 5

1035 Gilman Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94124