How some schools REALLY made the most of their Author Visit!

Click here for activities related to Rachelle's books

The teachers and students of
Star Hill Elementary School in Dover, Delaware 
really knew how to get the most out of this special day.

In the month leading up to my visit, the entire student body participated in various projects (art, music, writing and community service) around the theme of my hurricane picture book,
 Tree House in a Storm.   

Under the guidance of their fantastic art teacher David Cava, the students
created this life-sized model of a tree house, complete with lights that appeared to twinkle like the night sky.

The students in the second assembly had another surprise for me. First, here is the speech prepared before the performance orchestrated by the fantastic music teacher, Michael LeNoir:

"In connection with the plot of Tree House in a Storm by Rachelle Burk, we have been studying different types of extreme weather in music class.  During this unit, we specifically focused on the musical aspect of sound.  All Star Hill students had the opportunity to go on a sound scavenger hunt with Mr. LeNoir last week to investigate the many unique sounds that exist around us here at school each day.  We discovered that some sounds exist in nature while other sounds are the direct result of human activity.  In addition, we looked at pictures from the Internet of extreme weather events from around the world, and we used percussion instruments to imitate weather-related sounds.  Today, we will be performing a thunderstorm composition using body percussion."  
(According to Mr. LeNoir, it was inspired by this video:
You can find instructions for creating a "Body Percussion Thunderstorm" here: 

Here was my surprise in the third assembly: The entire student body spearheaded a community service project called "Coins for the Coast," in which they raised a whopping $1,047.67 (over a two week period). This money was donated to The Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund.

If all that wasn't amazing enough, the students all did an art and writing project, which lined the walls of the hall. Using my printable page, they designed their own tree house, and wrote a story about their imagined "Dream Tree House."  Twelve upper-grade students were selected to join me for a lunch "rap" session, during which these talented writers and artists shared their work with me.

Many schools hold an essay contest and the winners participate in a "Lunch with the Author" session. There the talented writers and artists proudly share their amazing work with me.

 IS THIS ADORABLE OR WHAT?? When the students of A.V.Ceres Elementary in Perth Amboy, NJ, learned that I love frogs (the illustrator of Tree House in a Storm hid them in most of the pictures), they created this awesome, laminated "frog quilt." It is on permanent display in my home office where it will eternally inspire me.

These schools used TREE HOUSE IN A STORM as discussion and writing prompts.