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Harrison Students Read, Connect With Hugo Cabret

HARRISON, N.Y. - Purchase Elementary's Library Media Specialist Deborah Goldstein said Harrison's fourth and fifth graders were given an after school program like no other this month.

She and other media specialists developed a unique multi-media enrichment workshop, focused on the Caldecott Award winning book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" and the movie "Hugo" from Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, adapted from the book by Brian Selznick.

"Having the children interact with each other in a multi-media event was inspiring," Goldstein said. "Children truly enjoyed interacting with mixed media, the technology, the art, the literature."

Students from across the district who read the book or saw the movie stayed after school to engage in many aspects of digital literacy, including blogging about memorable scenes, writing book reviews and offering alternative endings to the book.

Sarah Palesky is an art teacher at Purchase Elementary and worked with students on cross-hatching with pencils, an integral shading strategy of Selznick's work. Students created their own "inventions" using these artistic techniques.

"The multi-purpose room was simply transformed into a Hugo Cabret Workshop Wonderland," Palesky said. "Since author Brian Selznick is also the illustrator, we had a seamless connection with the visual arts and plenty of new pencil shading techniques to explore."

Students watched videos on the creation of both the book and the movie and were also interviewed about the personal experiences they had reading the book, watching the movie and connecting the two together.

"Students could float from different learning stations, intermingling with peers from other schools and reflect on the entire book-turned-movie process," Palesky said.

Thomasine Mastrantoni, library media specialist from S. J Preston Elementary, said he agreed.

"This inquiry-based, multi-media workshop enabled students from different schools to come together and share their thoughts," Mastrantoni said. "As 21st Century learners, our students need exposure to live events, virtual experiences and multi-media content to build their skills and broaden their learning community."

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