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In the Spotlight
December 20, 2019

St. Francis College Education Students Author Children's Books

St. Francis College Author's Chair 2019

A group of St. Francis College Education students just completed one of their department's hallmark projects when they presented original children's books they wrote and illustrated at the 10th Annual Author's Chair Celebration on December 18th.

As part this fall's "Methods of Instruction in Writing," a required course for Education majors who will teach Kindergarten through 6th grades, nine SFC students each assembled an original book based on best-practice principles they learned throughout the semester. As is tradition, they read and displayed their books to peers, department faculty and other guests during the Author's Chair event open to the SFC community.

Dr. Marina Gair, Chair of the Education department, created the book-writing project nine years ago as cornerstone to "Methods of Instruction in Writing." This year, she recruited Dr. Stephen Marino, an instructor in SFC's English department, to teach the course and oversee the book project.

"I wanted to convey to my students the philosophy that many of the best teachers of writing are also themselves writers," said

Dr. Marino

Dr. Marino, who also serves as editor of The Arthur Miller Journal, for which SFC has an internship program through the Communications department. "This is the kind of project that they can do with their future students when they graduate and get their first teaching positions."

Working in collaboration with Dr. Marino's class, for the first time pupils from Edward B. Shallow Junior High School (PS 227) also wrote their own children's stories during the fall semester. The SFC students edited the youngsters' stories, and nine Shallow students presented their completed books during Author's Chair. Dr. Kathleen Fraser, a Shallow sixth grade teacher, served as the liaison for the SFC collaboration.

"Dr. Gair set up the partnership with Shallow Junior High School," explained Dr. Marino, "When Dr. Gair, Dr. Fraser, and I met early in the semester, I suggested that a great way to partner would be for the college students and the middle school students to write stories at the same time. I offered my students as editors of the middle school students' stories."

Both the young students and their college counterparts largely adhered to the adage of "writing what you know" and created stories rooted in personal experiences. Everyone found or created appropriate illustrations to include in their works. SFC students also benefitted from a tutorial by Saki Tanaka, children's book artist and illustrator.

"With the inclusion of Shallow Junior High, there were many strands that had to come together to make Author's Chair work," said Dr. Marino. "But the end result was so satisfying because of the collaborative spirt that marks everything we do at the College."

The St. Francis College students who participated in Author's Chair were:

Michelle Fiorentino

Jessica Demarest

Francesca Adragna

Catherine Murphy

Vincenza Naimo

Victoria Caggiano

Luyin Chen

Alexandra Lassen

Yasmeen Ramos

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