A New Bald Eagle E-book — by a First-grader!

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 9.19.34 AMWritten By: Jim Wright for Duke Farms and Conserve Wildlife Foundation

Welcome to “All About Eagles,”  written and illustrated by  Gareth, a first-grader at the Copper Hill School in Ringoes, N.J.gareth

Gareth did his eagle book the conventional way, and we figured we that best way to share it (with Gareth and his parents’ permission) was to make it an e-book that you can view online (and even hear the pages turn).

The link is the free on-line e-book here. (If your volume is on, you can hear the pages turn.)

One of the goals of the Duke Farms Eagle Cam is to provide an incredible learning tool for schools.  Gareth makes everyone proud.

Teacher  Diane Cook, who won Eagle Cam Lesson Plan Contest last year, provides a bit of background:

“Since the DF live cam went on air in 2008, my students and I watch and do various lessons throughout the nesting season during Computer Literacy class.

“First-graders use the live cam to tell a digital story of the Bald Eagle’s life cycle, writing and illustrating it as they observe it happening online.

“While everyone is fascinated, each year there are a handful of students who really connect with the birds.

“In Mrs. MacRitchie’s classroom, students learn how to write “All About” books in Writer’s Workshop. This project is not only teaching students to write, but it is also a research project.

“Students use books and a web service called PebbleGo to research a topic of choice. Gareth’s original topic was birds and very broad. Mrs. MacRitchie asked him to be more specific and suggested he pick one bird. His choice was the bald eagle.

I met Gareth as a kindergartener in Copper Hill Elementary School in the Flemington Raritan School district. He was, and still is, a quiet boy. He keeps to himself, but takes in a lot.

“He was extremely proud, however when Mrs. MacRitchie had him share his bald eagle project with me. His mother has told me how proud he is of the attention his book is receiving. He worked hard, and it is a great example of what these students can do.

“The Bald Eagle cam provides a wonderful and innovative use of technology. We are taken into a place we do not normally see. Before we can care enough about nature to conserve it, we need to see, experience, and know it.

The live cam does that and more! I like to think that I’m opening the door for the next naturalist or wildlife biologist in one of my primary students. It is truly an inspiration to many.

“In my other school, Robert Hunter Elementary, there is another success story. This one comes from a second-grade class. Mrs. Zarzecki sent one her most reluctant writers to me one day to share a poem he had written. poem2

“What was the topic? You guessed it, bald eagles! The live cam has so touched him. Where once writing was a dreaded task for him, he now chooses to write whenever he can about what he is observing online.

“When faced with a writing assignment, he balks until it is suggested that he can write about the eagles. He then jumps into the task wholeheartedly.”

(Thanks, Gareth and teachers!)

Got a question or suggestion? E-mail Jim at celeryfarm@gmail.com.

Jim Wright writes “The Bird Watcher” columnist for The [Bergen] Record. He is the author of four coffee-table books about wild places, and a deputy marsh warden of the Celery Farm Natural Area in Allendale, N.J.

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3 Responses to A New Bald Eagle E-book — by a First-grader!

  1. Diane Cook says:

    Jim, thank you for featuring the work of these students. The boys are so proud of their work and glowing in the attention it is receiving. You writing this piece boosts the confidence of these quiet boys, and can now inspire their peers to follow suit. Oh the places writing can take you! Thank you!

    • Diane Cook says:

      I am so excited for the boys, I forgot to thank their classroom teachers. Mrs. MacRitchie and Mrs. Zarzecki, thank you for your encouragement and recognizing the value of the live cam and all it can do.

  2. Janis L Karpinski says:

    The book is really sweet and the Author can be very proud of this accomplishment. It takes a lot of hard work to get the facts correct and to put in all together in an interesting book. Your information Gareth, became a story and your story makes me want to know more about Eagles. You really did a great job. Your pictures are also wonderful, and the picture of the nest in the tree gave me a clear picture of how the Eagles live. I will be looking up on my next walk on Duke Farms and I hope to find a nest up in the tree. You are really a great writer. Thank you for your book. 😃😃

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