Interview with Third Grade Teacher and Author, Hannah Stark
Welcome back to Chalk + Ink: The Podcast for Teachers Who Write and Writers Who Teach. Meet third grade teacher and author, Hannah Stark. Hannah is the author of the picture book Trucker and Train and the board book version debuts April 6th! Hannah's tenacity and perseverance will have you believing anything is possible if you work hard enough for it.
In this episode, Hannah talks about reading picture books with multiple lenses, using body and home maps to generate multiple ideas for writer's workshop and the importance of backward planning and tiny task completion to reach writing goals. Oh, and if you're someone who enjoys using sticky notes and colored cardstock (and come on, what teacher doesn't?), this episode won't disappoint!
During this episode, Hannah and I discussed four different books. She talks about Beatrice's Goat by Page McBrier which is about a Ugandan girl whose family receives a goat as a gift from Heifer International, an organization dedicated to giving livestock and teaching animal husbandry to families in need. Back when my sons were younger, we bought our vegetables from the Heifer International Farm in Rutland, Massachusetts (that Heifer Farm no longer exists). Every time I drove out to the farm, I felt relaxed. When I returned to my home in the city, I felt the tension build in my body. That's how I realized I needed to move to a rural area. So needless to say, Heifer International has a special place in my heart.
We talk about one of Hannah's mom's books, The Line Up Book-yes, Hannah's mom, Marisabina Russo, is an author, like Hannah, and an illustrator, too.
Robins!: How They Grow Up by Eileen Christelow engages Hannah's students and gets them excited about their bird unit because there are two young robins who talk to one another and make the facts in the book more accessible for her students. Our discussion about Robins! led me to ask Hannah if she knew about Melissa Stewart and Marlene Correia's forthcoming book, 5 Kinds of Nonfiction. Since Hannah is as excited about nonfiction structure as I am, she was grateful to learn about this incredible nonfiction resource.
Hannah recommends every upper elementary classroom have a copy of The New Kid by Jerry Craft. Although she doesn't use it as a teaching text in third grade, she has students who do read the book. She says the book is too important to not talk about it.
The other book Hannah thinks every elementary classroom should have is Home in the Woods by Hannah Wheeler. It's a picture book set in The Great Depression and it's about a family who gets evicted from their home and how they survive in a shed in the woods. Hannah loves the book because it's about resilience, making a home out of very little and the gorgeous illustrations that depict all the seasons. On a personal note, Hannah likes that the mother is a single mom, like Hannah. This led me to talk about Lauren Wolk's Echo Mountain which is a historical fiction middle grade novel that also features a family who loses their home in The Great Depression and moves onto a mountain in Maine. It sounds as if these two books would pair really well together.
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