Classroom Spotlight: Dreaming with Peter H. Reynolds

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Fourth Graders from the Rectory School in Pomfret, CT, recently spent a day with Peter H. Reynolds in his bookstore, The Blue Bunny. The following post was written by Maria Carpenter

Connecting our students with experts that extend their learning, and broaden their experience is a goal that we strive for, each day at Rectory School. On Friday, April 6th, Melissa Zahansky and I had the distinct pleasure of accompanying our grade four students to visit the children's book author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds in his bookstore, The Blue Bunny in Dedham, MA. The K-4 community used Peter's books to create art experiences for the children to explore for our school's first ever MELP, Jr. ES Artists in Residence. We knew that we were in for a treat, but as we left the bookstore that morning, we all felt that we had just participated in a once in a lifetime kind of experience! Peter H. (for Hamilton) Reynolds is an extraordinarily kind, creative and generous human being!

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Peter grew up in Dedham, MA and told the children stories of how he always loved to collect words and draw, ever since he was a child. He has a twin brother, Paul, who is his friend and creative partner at FableVision Learning, a company located above the Children's Museum in Boston, MA. FableVision Learning provides support for educators around the world to nurture the 4 C's (plus 1): creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking - and compassion both in and out of the classroom. We heard detailed stories about Peter's own creative process, and he encouraged our children to collect words that are interesting to them, as well as their dreams and ideas in a journal.

We heard about the real girl who entered the book store one day selling carnations for her school, named Vashti, who quietly watched Peter sketch over his shoulder. She became the lead character in his award winning book, The Dot, which has received many honors, is translated into several languages, and has even traveled to the space station! The Dot reminds us all to "Make your mark, and see where it takes you."

Giving our students the opportunity to dream about the journeys that they may strive for in their lives is of great importance to all of us at Rectory School. Our morning with Peter, will linger in our minds for a long time. He taught us about goodness, reaching out to those around us who need a helping hand, and being our best selves. Thanks Peter, for being such a light for our students... and creating such magical picture books that make the world a more compassionate place!

These are the memories that our Grade 4 students would like to share about their visit:

  • "I have never had an author read a book to me! I loved when he read The Word Collector!"  ~ Ashley

  • "I loved when Peter Reynolds was talking about my future... maybe he will be right, and I will work in the White House!"  ~ Alexandra

  • "I liked it when Peter Reynolds found out I was a good speller and loved words. He offered me a job when I get out of college... the funny thing is, he was serious!"  ~ Lilah

  • "I loved that he listened to our ideas when he was drawing a picture of Vashti."  ~ Isabel

  • "I liked it when he asked us to think about what the world needs more of or less of, so he could get ideas for his next book."  ~ Sean

  • "I loved hearing him talk about himself. You don't get to hear an author do that everyday!"  ~ Anson

  • "I love seeing The Dot book that actually went into space, and hearing the story about how the commander called him from the space station!"  ~ Peter

  • "I like that he always has a twist that gets fixed in his books."  ~ William

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