THOMASTON — The Georges River Educational Foundation funded a guest writer for students at Thomaston Grammar School this spring. The students first researched animals in Maine during their library technology class with teacher Laurie Walsh. They chose mammals, birds, insects and reptiles and amphibians. After their research, they met via Zoom with children’s non-fiction writer Kim Ridley, who organized an entire school assembly and then coached them through each grade level to create a great hook to start their story.
Kimberly Ridley is the author of non-fiction books for children, including The secret pool, which received the Maine Library Association’s Lupine Award for Best Picture Book. Two of his children’s books have also received Riverby Awards from the John Burroughs Association for outstanding natural history books for young people, and his book Extreme Survivors: animals forgotten by time was named Best STEM Book by Bank Street College of Education.
The students wrote and illustrated their books in Book Creator, an application provided by another grant from the Georges River Educational Foundation. Kindergarten students recorded their voices to accompany their illustrations, while older students typed their books and used Creative Commons copyrighted photographs to illustrate them. All students learned to make age-appropriate quotes.
The books have been published digitally and made available to the TGS school community and student families. Finally, the students received video feedback from the author on their books and created a movie to thank 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 the Georges River Educational Foundation for their support in our schools,” TGS said in a press release. . “It was an unforgettable experience.”