"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Things my students learned during a Skype visit with Kristin Levine

Yesterday my fourth graders had a Skype visit with Kristin Levine, author of The Lions of Little Rock and The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had. It was a great visit! They asked questions that they had composed prior to the visit and then shared what they learned after the visit.  
Check them both out.
"One thing I learned from Kristin Levine is that you may not like writing at first, like Kristin in fourth grade, but you may grow up to like writing.  Also, I learned that on your first draft you can write something that may not be very good, and then go back and keep editing and revising.  This will help me in the future because sometimes I feel like my writing is terrible and she taught me that it is okay and to just keep on writing." ~Damien

"I learned how to describe characters without saying or writing how they look. This is useful because there is no "right" or "wrong" of how characters look, (for readers) but you still know what personalities they have.  I learned how to do this because the author of "Lions of Little Rock" wrote that in her second book.  The character Marlee describes other characters as beverages.  I can't wait to use this in my writing!" ~Amy

The entire visit was a Q&A because they had many great questions.  Here are some:

"Did you like to write when you were a kid?"

"What books did you like to read when you were a kid?"

"What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?  Is is sitting down and writing or going back to revise?"

"Where did you get most of you information about the Little Rock Nine?"

"How long did it take you to write and research on the book? What took longer?  Writing or researching the book?"

"Did you base any of your characters from any of your books on your real friends?"

"How did you choose the names for your characters?"

"How did you develop your character’s personalities?"

"Which character do you feel you relate to the most in Lions of Little Rock?"

"Was it hard to have such a real and serious topic and then make it fiction?"

"What inspired you to have Marlee describe the characters as beverages?"

"What beverage would you call yourself?"

"What do you want people to walk away with after reading your book?"

"How did you think of the title of your book?"

"What is the next book you are writing?"

Here's what they said they learned:
"I learned that writing doesn't have to be perfect the first time.  Also, if you don't like how something sounds (in your writing) you can think outside the box.  P.S. I think I would describe myself as lemonade, sometimes sweet and sometimes sour." ~Ella

"I learned to take risks in writing." ~Will

"One thing I learned from Kristin Levine is that your first draft doesn't have to be very good; you can always go back and edit a lot." ~Ruby

"I learned that it helps to switch from using a computer to writing by hand." ~Lucy

"One thing I learned from the Skype with Kristin Levine is that you can base stories off real people." ~Aidan

"I learned that in writing it is okay to make mistakes and sometimes it is just important to get something down on paper and you can always edit later." ~Carrie

" I learned that if you are writing and it is really bad, keep going and your writing will slowly get better." ~David

"I learned that you may not like to write when you are a kid but you might change your mind!" ~Sophie

"I learned that you can take risks in writing and that a big problem in a story is better than a small one." ~Ari

"I learned that if you don't like something when you are a kid you should work at it and you'll be good at it. For me, I don;t like math so if I work at it, I will be good." ~Gio

"I learned lots of things through the Skype.  Mostly I liked the suggestion that even if you're not sure if your idea will work, it won't hurt to try." ~Matthew

"I learned that you should always take risks in your writing - even though you might not be sure it will work because it will always make your writing interesting." ~Abby


Check out this wonderful interview about The Lions of Little Rock on The Book Page.

Read this student review of the book.

Read about the special experience I had while reading this book.

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