Established in 2018 in honor of long-time ESD English Teacher Bill Cook, the Bill Cook Endowment supports a visiting writers' program for middle school students. This year, the endowment's visiting writer was Paul Fleischman, Newbery Award-winning author for children and young adults. Mr. Fleischman was chosen as this year's visiting writer because several of his works were being read across middle school English classes.
Mr. Fleischman met virtually with fifth graders to discuss his book, The Matchbox Diary, in which students reflected on the power objects hold in our memories. He also showed the students a personal friend's matchbox diary, the very one that inspired him to write the book.
Sixth graders have been reading his book Seedfolks and spoke with Mr. Fleischman about the meaning of community, a central theme in the book. Students were also able to ask questions about his writing, specifically writing from different points of view, the development of a story, and the revision process. Students were extremely interested in which characters and/or their story Mr. Fleischman based on his own life and/or people he knew.
Lastly, Mr. Fleishcman ended his virtual visit with a seventh-grade English class that read Seedfolks last year and wrote their own sequels to one character from the book. Students were able to share their stories with Mr. Fleischman and he provided them with feedback for future writing endeavors.
Special thank you to all involved in making this virtual visit a success!
To learn more about the Bill Cook Endowment or other endowments, please visit our Endowment Page.