PS 165 Robert E. Simon School: Global Scholars Academy, Upper West Side, Manhattan, District 3
PS 165 serves 700 students from K-8th grade. This is the first year that Behind the Book has worked with PS 165. Behind the Book projects will include a newspaper writing workshop with Pulitzer Prize winning NY Times reporter, Mike Winerip and a study of the Harlem Renaissance with acclaimed author, Gail Carson Levine.
Visit 1: January 5, 2011
Visit 2: January 12, 2011
Visit 3: January 19, 2011
Visit 4: January 26, 2011 (Barbara Korein)
Grade 5: Author Liz Levy spearheaded a mystery writing program for 5th graders at PS 165.
During the first of three visits, Ms. Levy introduced the class to the basic elements of a mystery,
including the emergence of a problem, suspects, clues, etc. Students came up with a
premise for their story, using details with which they were familiar.
Prior to the second visit, the students did research in order to incorporate factual information into their mystery story. The students also used their knowledge of Brazilian culture – which
they had been studying in school – to further enrich the text. Ms. Levy then helped the
students to fill in gaps in the text and clarify the narrative voice. The students learned
about the editing and rewriting process from Nancy Mercado, Ms. Levy’s editor at
Roaring Book Press.
The final workshop focused on the illustration process. Behind the Book’s resident artist, Barbara
Korein, assisted the students in creating pictures for the story and the book cover.
The three visits produced an excellent final product: a printed version of the story the
students had written and illustrated themselves.
Visit 1: May 2, 2011
Visit 2: May 17, 2011
Visit 3: May 25, 2011 (Barbara Korein only)
In a three-part Behind the Book program, 6th graders at PS 165 read Andrea Pinkney’s
Bird in a Box. Ms. Pinkney began with a PowerPoint and talked about her writing and
researching process, as well as where her inspiration comes from. She then had the
class meditate for a few minutes and think of an object that makes them happy, as a
way to focus them. Students had questions prepared for Ms. Pinkney about the book
and were given time to ask them. Ms. Pinkney asked the students to bring in an object that is special to them before her second visit.
In the second visit, Ms. Pinkney started the process of brainstorming. She would give word prompts (using large categories such as “food” or “sports”) and students would volunteer
answers. Ms. Pinkney talked about the elements of a story, such as genre, beginning,
middle, and end, and the presence of an opening hook. Students also had been asked
to come in with three potential titles for their story, which they narrowed down.
In a third visit, artist Barbara Korein did an art workshop about silhouettes (which Bird in a Box
illustrator Sean Qualls used). The students made silhouettes of objects like basketballs
and stuffed animals.
Workshop 1: January 14, 2011
Workshop 2: January 28, 2011
Author Tony Medina conducted a two-part Behind the Book program focused on his book I and I: Bob Marley. Mr. Medina started his first visit by distributing fortune cookies and asking
the students to do a writing prompt based on their fortunes. The class also listened to
music (including songs by Bob Marley) to get them thinking. Mr. Medina then talked
about Langston Hughes and the importance of poetry. The class wrote programs
beginning with the phrase, “I am from,” and later took part in a poetry slam.
During the second workshop, students read their poems aloud and Mr. Medina commented on and critiqued their work. Medina talked about the different types of poems that exist and
gave the class advice on how to perform poetry. The students perfected their “I am
from” poems for their final project.
Gail Carson Levine,Dave at Night, research project about the Harlem Renaissance and field trip to National Jazz Museum in Harlem
Mike Winerip,Adam Canfield of the Slash, newspaper writing workshop
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