Doreen Rappaport stops in for a Skype chat with CS 21 students

It’s pretty clear that we all love Doreen Rappaport at BtB and her visit yesterday gave us yet another reason why. Not afraid to try something different, Doreen made her most recent classroom visit via Skype to talk about the biographies Mrs. LeBron’s 4th grade class are writing.

Doreen encouraged the young authors to look beyond the obvious facts and imagine they were telling a story to a friend so they could capture the most interesting details of the person’s life. Then, she listened to some of the students’ drafts, offering specific advice on how students might explore these peoples lives more deeply, asking one student how Mark Twain got his pen name, and suggesting another that she connect the life of Mahatma Gandhi to the activism of Martin Luther King.

The program is based on Doreen’s critically acclaimed biography of Helen Keller illustrated by Matt Tavares. The book intersperses Doreen’s prose with quotes from Helen Keller herself; the students were so drawn to the quotes that they decided to emphasize quotes in their biographies as well.

Today, the students are out on a field trip to the American Foundation for the Blind to discover more about Helen Keller’s life through her archival collection, meet Doreen and Matt in person, and have their books autographed. Check back on Monday for more about the trip!