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MTYT: Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

By Mary Fahrenbruck, PhD, New Mexico State University and Prisca Martens, PhD, Towson University.

This is the first installment of March’s MTYT, Mary and Prisca discuss the middle grade novel Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus. Author Dusti Bowling incorporates desert scenes of Arizona and a genetic disorder within a well-rounded story of everyday life and mystery.

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STORY in Storying Studio

By Prisca Martens, Ph.D., Towson University

STORY in Storying Studio stands as a verb as well as a noun. In addition to being a narrative, story/storying as verbs mean to compose by weaving together meanings in writing and art as in picturebooks. Children don’t write and illustrate; rather, they story. Story as a verb refers to the multimodal process of composing meaning in writing and art.

story in storying studio, Marcie
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READ in Storying Studio

By Prisca Martens, Ph.D., Towson University

When children read in Storying Studio, they learn that readers not only read written text, they read art. They consider how/why artists make particular decisions about color, shape, etc., similar to how/why authors make particular decisions about word choice, sentence structure, etc., when writing written text. We create text sets around particular themes, topics, or art concepts on which the teachers want to focus in the minilessons.

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Storying Studio: Drawing Stories, Writing Pictures

By Prisca Martens, PhD, Towson University

storying studioPicturebooks convey stories in both written text and pictorial text (art), with both texts being essential to telling the story (Kiefer, 1995; Sipe, 1998). The art has meanings or perspectives not offered in the written text just as the written text has meanings/perspectives not available in the art. When no written text is present, the story is told only through the art. Typically these books are referred to as wordless books. My co-researcher Ray Martens, an artist and art educator, however, calls them pictorial books to emphasize the importance of the art in telling the story rather than identify these books as lacking words. Continue reading

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Exploring and Experiencing: My Name Is Sangoel

by Prisca Martens, Towson University

This month we’ve been looking closely at how the art and written text in picturebooks work together to convey meaning and exploring how to help children experience the full richness in picturebooks by reading both. This week we’ll examine how Jenna Loomis read My Name Is Sangoel, written by Karen Lynn Williams (2009) and Khandra Mohammed and illustrated by Catherine Stock, with her first graders.
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