I SPY: “The Project That Keeps on Giving”

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“This project just keeps on giving” was my colleague’s, Arlene Yegelwel, comment on the second blog post about our 2nd grade students’ I SPY project. Arlene is right! After working hard on creating our class I SPY book and then on perfecting our interviewing skills as a means of project reflection, we enjoyed a fabulous virtual visit with Jean Marzollo, author of the I SPY book series, today. It was Jean’s challenge that inspired our own class book and resulted in about 20 minutes of insights and learning from the author herself.

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As new experts in the process of creating an I SPY book, our students were especially curious about Ms. Marzollo’s process. They wanted to know how she finds the items for her collages (turns out most are selected by the I SPY photographer, Walter Wick), how she creates the rhymes (as this was not always easy for our kids), and why she chose a 4-beat rhythm for her riddles (we did a lot of clapping to practice). Lots of great questions!

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Notice the last question about advice for improvement of our class book. No, Jean did not have any advice for us–instead she praised our book, describing it as “the best one yet”, and telling the kids that they “deserve a blue ribbon” for their work. And she asked if she could feature our work on her website.
The second grade students, their teachers, and I are both thrilled and honored. Thank you, Jean Marzollo, for inspiring us and visiting with us!
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