Usually, my school visits are a single day, maybe two, but this past week I had the chance to spend four days up in Saratoga at the Lake Avenue and Geyser Road Elementary Schools.
My visit at Lake Avenue was a bit different than usual in that I spent a large part of the week working with the fifth grades on a digital art project. Before I arrived, the students each wrote a fable. My job was to introduce technology to help them design covers. We began by looking at the designs of existing children’s book covers, and I took them through the process I’ve been going through working on the cover of the next Backbeard. Then we got to work.
Students began by using a program called ArtRage 2, a great program for digital painting that also happens to be free. (If you’ve never downloaded it, I recommend you go check it out. It’s great fun.) Then, we brought the images into Microsoft Publisher and talked about layout and type design to pull everything together.
Meanwhile, I spent every afternoon across town at Geyser Road, where I met some great kids and had a chance to see some inspiring artwork. Students explored Backbeard’s crazy fashion sense with designs for hats and tunics.
This was a terrific week, and my thanks go out to everyone who helped make it so special. First, to Gail Willner-Giwerc and Kassandra Leal, parent volunteers extraordinaire, who did so much to make me feel welcome. Thanks to all the parents who turned out for the evening reading on Tuesday. Thanks to the kids of Lake Avenue and Geyser Road, and thanks to librarian Sue Demick for the best introductions ever, and finally thanks to Debra Zaffuts, my long-time friend, for all her work pulling this together. What a great week!