THOMASTON — Georges River Educational Foundation funded a visiting author for the students of Thomaston Grammar School this spring. Students first researched Maine animals during their Library Technology class with teacher Laurie Walsh. They chose mammals, birds, insects and reptiles and amphibians. After their research, they met through Zoom with children’s non-fiction writer Kim Ridley, who did a whole school assembly and then coached them in each grade level to create a great hook to start their story.
Kimberly Ridley is the author of nonfiction books for children including The Secret Pool, which received the Maine Library Association’s Lupine Award for best picture book. Two of her children’s books also have received Riverby Awards from the John Burroughs Association for outstanding natural history books for young people, and her book Extreme Survivors: Animals That Time Forgot was named a best STEM book by the Bank Street College of Education.
Students wrote and illustrated their books in Book Creator, an app provided by another grant from Georges River Educational Foundation. Kindergarteners recorded their voices to go with their illustrations, while older students typed their books and used creative commons copyrighted photographs to illustrate them. All students learned how to make age appropriate citations.
The books were published digitally and made available to the TGS school community and the families of the students. Finally, students received video feedback from the author about their books and created a movie to send their thanks to Ridley. This project combined science, ELA and technology standards.
“We are so proud of the hard work our students put into this project and their wonderful creations, and we are so grateful to Georges River Educational Foundation for their support in our schools,” said TGS, in a news release. “It was an experience to remember.”