Using monsters to connect with others


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March 8, 2016 9:28 AM

Queen Elizabeth School Grade 2 students Kian Comrie and Matti McDougall emceed the launch of their class's eBook on Friday, which is titled Monstrous Feelings and will also be used as a tool to teach autistic students.

A group of Lloydminster authors celebrated the launch of their first book, a collaborative effort touching on feelings and how to understand them.
The young authors are Grade 2 students of Ms. Robyn Torry from Queen Elizabeth School and used monsters as a way to connect with other kids on how to deal with everyday emotions.
The young wordsmiths got the help of Mr. Jason Sand and his Grade 11-12 graphic art students, who improved the illustrations for the iBook, which is available free on iTunes and is titled Monstrous Feelings.
“First we did a sketch then Ms. Torry emailed it to Mr. Sand’s Grade 11s and 12s and they made it,” said student Kian Comrie, whose monster was blue with green stripes and identified with the feeling of sadness.
“Then in a month or so they put pictures on Twitter and we looked at them and then we made our book.”
Fellow student Matti McDougal, who emceed the book launch with Kian, said the project was fun and helped the class learn how to write a story.
All of the various feelings—like nervousness, hunger, and sadness to name a few—were written on pieces of paper and put into a box.
The students each took turns reaching in to draw a feeling and read it aloud to the class, then they wrote a paragraph explaining what they do when they have the feeling, and came up with a monster to illustrate.
Matti’s monster was named Tart, who is a nervous monster.
“She hides in the dark and light green bushes,” Matti said, describing what Tart does when she gets nervous.
The theme of “feelings” was also chosen so teachers could use the book as a tool to use with students who have autism.
Torry said she was approached by a special education teacher in Saskatoon who focuses on students with autism, looking for a book to help the students understand their feelings. 
“So we took that idea and ran with the idea of using monsters to express feelings because kids can relate easily to monsters,” Torry said.
“We have an autistic student from Queen Elizabeth School who authored a page in the book and an autistic student that’s in high school that also authored a page in the book.”
The class first identified the various feelings and then the kids created monsters, from there they wrote their paragraphs and created the illustration before sending them to Mr. Sand.
After that the students in Saskatoon enhanced the material then fired it back to Lloydminster in a completed ePub, so the Grade 2s could record their voices reading over their paragraphs.
Once this process was complete it was ready for publication.
This is the third time Torry has collaborated on an eBook in two years, last year publishing two with her students.
The first one was another fiction titled My Pet Monster and second was a non-fiction called Squirt’s Reef Adventure, which was about a penguin named Squirt who visits other characters under the water.
Torry said they plan on making another one about Squirt this spring, where the penguin visits the jungle.

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