Polycom Employee

Yesterday Sue Porter, TWICE and Elaine Shuck, Polycom  had a packed IVC showcase session, with about 272 students participating.  The connection was with author Margaret Willey on her book Clever Beatrice, a fairy tale set in the Upper Pennisula of Michigan. We had schools from Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Montana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Texas. 


The students learned the story patterns folklore follows and why giants are such popular characters in these tales. Next week author and writing instructor, Janie Panagopoulos, will continue the lesson with guidelines for the students in writing their short stories about giants.


Mrs. Willey explained that giant folk tales are inspiring to children. They are magical and full of fun. They demonstrate that a large, powerful and many times rich giant can be outwitted by a clever child as happens in Clever Beatrice. Many great questions followed as students began to imagine and create the giant for their story:


Do all giants have to be big and mean? No. Paul Bunyon and John Henry were big but not scary or mean. Swamp Angel set in the American frontier is the story of a regular size girl with exceptional strength who rescues people from a great bear. And, Thunder Rose is an average girl with “giant” powers that work for good in her town. The giant in Clever Beatrice is big and rich and powerful, but just not very smart.


Why doesn’t your giant have a name? Many characters in folklore do not have names. For example, in the Jack in the Beanstalk, there is Jack and “his mother” and “the giant.” Mrs. Willey encouraged the students to be creative with the characters they did name.


Mrs. Willey also pointed out that authors of folk tales borrow elements from other folk tales and that is very acceptable. She encouraged the students to use their imaginations and cleverness when creating their stories and characters.


Polycom Special Events  always amaze me. The quality of student’s questions is incredible. Clearly they have thought carefully about their reading.  Ms. Willey commented that she appreciated the students’ questions too.


Stay-tuned for next week when we blog about our connection with author and writing instructor Janie Panagopoulos.

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