Cortland School District

Just got back from a week of visiting schools in Cortland, NY, about halfway between Binghamton and Syracuse. For this visit, I finally broke down and bought a GPS navigator for my car, a Navigon 2100. It was a little over a hundred bucks at Staples, and my only regret is that I didn’t buy one sooner. Finding my way from school to school, back to the hotel, then home again was as simple as pressing a couple buttons. Highly recommended.

Barry-SalamanderIt was a really fun week in Cortland, although, as any native upstate New Yorker will tell you, this is not our most beautiful season. New York is molting, getting ready for its spring coat, and we all have to take it on faith that this will pass. Luckily, the schools in Cortland did a grand job of brightening the day. I had the chance to visit five schools over the week, Virgil, Smith, Barry, Parker and Randall Elementary. Here are a couple of the highlights:

At Barry, a teacher showed up with a salamander she had discovered earlier that day in a warehouse in town. It was much bigger than anything I’ve ever seen running around wild.

A couple years ago, when Abolutely Not was launched, Walker published an activity guide to accompany it and a number of other books. Included was a recipe for a “Moldy Dog Snack” based on an illustration from the book. I’ve had it posted on my site for years, but I’ve never had the courage to make it. At Parker a couple girls cooked up a batch for my visit, and it was delicious. Licorice, pretzels, cream cheese – who would have guessed?


Here’s a pirate flag from Parker. I love the caption, which reads, “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.”


Here are some fantastic pirate designs from the kids at F. E. Smith Elementary:



At Randall, the kids did a really interesting project (complete with an introductory letter to Backbeard) where they researched the ocean for pirate pets, then hid them on secret islands on a giant map.


My thanks to everyone at the Cortland schools, and especially the librarians and students, for making me feel so welcome on my visit. I’ll come back any time, even in rainy, snowy, gloomy March. That’s how much I enjoyed it.