Posts Tagged ‘fifth grade’


Pat Zacks at the Camera Werks in Providence feels compassion for inner-city kids whose schools can’t offer many enrichment activities. That’s why she volunteers every year to mount and hang 500+ juried photos by Pawtucket, Rhode Island, fifth graders (and a few grownups).

On Wednesday I stopped off at the gallery where the “Calling All Cameras” photos are on display until the end of September. The theme this year,  submitted by Linda C. Dugas, is “Pawtucket’s Color Palette.” Winners of this, the 18th, annual photo contest also get their work featured in the city calendar.

An impressive slate of judges are responsible for choosing this year’s winning photos (Butch Adams, Richard Benjamin, Christy Christopoulos, Jesse Nemerofsky, and Aaron Usher). Winners will be announced September 25.

I wish my photo of a child’s box turtle entry had turned out well enough to post, but I’m sharing a couple other favorites here.

Stop by the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor visitor center, just off Interstate 95 in downtown Pawtucket, to find the box turtle. The visitor center is opposite the historic Slater Mill, birthplace of America’s Industrial Revolution.

And if you are ever in Providence, please check out the Camera Werks on Hope Street. Pat’s Facebook page, here, has more information on the photo exhibit.












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Among children’s books, I especially like books that are fifth-grade level. Although I enjoyed all the “color” fairy books when I was in third grade or so — Andrew Lang’s Blue Fairy Book, the Orange Fairy Book, the Rose Fairy Book, and so on — it wasn’t until about fifth grade that I really got hooked. Flashlights under the cover and all. I had a relative who worked for Dan Wickenden (The Amazing Vacation), and she sent me Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and the Narnia books. My cousin Patsy got me into George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin. I reread that one a couple years ago, and it’s as great as ever.

After college, I  taught fifth and sixth grade for a few years and read to the kids as time allowed. I remember how one class only gradually realized they were really starting to like Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Lost Prince. Reading can sneak up that way.

Today I am one of the volunteers who go out from our workplace to an inner-city school where there has long been a tutoring relationship. It started with a team who read picture books chosen by teachers to first graders. Then other teams were added (such as fourth grade math tutoring), and now there are teams reading with fifth graders. The books are chosen by the librarian. Each fifth-grade volunteer has a group of three children, and grownups and children all take turns reading and discussing. Even though the kids see teams once a week, most individual volunteers only go monthly. It’s not hard to fit into one’s schedule. I have learned about a lot of books by volunteering at the school. I already knew about From the Crazy Mixed-up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler, but not about Holes, Maniac Magee, Hatchet, or Hidden Talents, to name a few.

One colleague, having found out that I liked this age level, introduced me to the Golden Compass series. Heaven! I also like her suggestion of The Island of the Aunts and recommend it.

Better sign off. The last time we had a storm like the one outside my window, my computer was hit.

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