Teacher Report Card on The Christmas Wind Story Project

Teacher Comments-Quote 03c

CLICK IMAGE to learn how to vote to help The Canadian Children's Book Centre extend this project to more students in more schools with more stories and create a brand new Children's Literature Award at the same time!

CLICK IMAGE to learn how to vote to help The Canadian Children’s Book Centre extend this project to more students in more schools with more stories and create a brand new Children’s Literature Award at the same time!

It is remarkable, in a way, that teachers across the country have found a way to wedge The Christmas Wind Story Project into an already full curriculum. They’ve not only fit the project in week by week, but embraced it and, with their students, fallen in love with it.

Learn More About The W.I.N.D. Story Project HERE

Here are a few comments about the project, the story, the trading cards, and the way the program has impacted their students.

The Program

“What a difference I am seeing in the Grade 2/3 students. They are anxious to hear the next part, they listen more intently and they put more thought in their drawings. I am so proud of them. This is a fantastic project. We are so lucky to be a part of it. I know this is not important but I thought you should know that 3 of the students in the class have exceptionalities but they too put lots of effort into their pictures. One little boy who struggles with learning was drawing Murdock’s house this morning and he wanted to know what color he colored his house last week. Because it was important to him, it was important to me. I went back to the library to check his Part 2 drawing so he would get it right. Isn’t that precious?”

Teacher Comments-Quote 01a“My class said that March break should be cancelled so they can hear part 7 next week!! That says a lot about this project.”

“The next 3 weeks are all going to be a bit crazy – until Parent teacher interviews are over. But I would like to keep doing The Christmas Wind as planned – we all look forward to it! They will be asking me first thing tomorrow morning to show them their movie.”

Teacher Comments-Quote 01c“My students felt bad that quite a few of the kids in the class are sick and missing their turn, so some of them did more than one drawing this week. I’d read your message to them about how you loved their art. They wanted to please you and make you happy again! Lol They are at an amazing age; lots of fun, excitement and wonderings about their world. P.S. <<student name>> and <<student name>> were so surprised and excited when I read your reply to our post on the page! They couldn’t believe you knew their names. ha ha. I guess they see you a little as a mystical figure like Santa – we talk a lot about you but I haven’t shown them the link about you yet.”

“We love everything you do, and it’s all so organized. I had a great time illustrating that part myself! haha! It was calming to colour afterschool, just like with adult colouring books!”

Teacher Comments-Quote 01d“Thank you so much for doing this! What I should have done was sent you a video of their reaction every Monday morning when I told them we would be listening to another part of The Christmas Wind! They were so excited! I truly believe that what you have done with your story is a great learning experience for these youngsters all over Canada – not to mention being able to interact with an author. You have inspired many of my students to put their thoughts on paper and to never give up on their dreams and for that I’m grateful. Thank you for opening up your stories (and life) to us. It was a pleasure getting to know you throughout the past eight weeks and I know my students loved every single minute of it – the story movie, the animal videos, the voice messages, the emails and the overall story.”

“The students love seeing their pictures on the screen, with you reading the story aloud.”

Teacher Comments-Quote 01e“I can’t wait to see the sneak peek of the illustrations! Thank you for all your hard work!”

“We got to watch the video on the class page last week. Thank you again. The kids loved the calves. They are so cute.”

“I was greeted this morning by a student bearing this card for me. I just thought it would make you smile. I’m so happy to be involved.”

“This project has made me wish so often that I had more than 1 hour a week to spend with the Grade 3 class.”

Teacher Comments-Quote 01b“I have been encouraging my class to make their characters more prominent and detailed, rather than stick figures, but they will need more instruction and practice to get good at that! For now, I’m really pleased to see them getting what they are from the listening… and they’re also loving using markers – perhaps not my best choice – but… PS We read Hoogie… and Tweezle…. They loved them – and the doughnut jokes were a big hit!”

Teacher Comments-Quote 02a“I’m loving the way the students are really listening for those little details! And they are also loving your responses to their questions – you’re giving us lots to think about and discuss. I’m hoping the rest of the students will get their turns to send you a question or comment this week – they’re ‘straining at the bit.’”

“We are so excited to start part 8. I had a student sick for almost two weeks so he missed a couple parts. He came to school yesterday and the first thing he said was that he couldn’t wait to start his Christmas Wind project. This morning when they were writing their journal he said that he’s going to draw something about the Christmas Wind project because he missed it. We are going to miss these stories once we’re all done.”

“I was lucky enough to be there this morning and it was interesting how so many were most struck by Jo’s anger at finding her brother gone. I had forgotten about the shovel she picked up until I asked a student what Jo had in her hand and he said ‘the shovel’ – and then I noticed he wasn’t the only one who drew that shovel! I was surprised there weren’t more drawings of what she saw looking in the window. Can’t wait to find out what happens next!”

Teacher Comments-Quote 02b“We missed school yesterday due to a storm, so the kids just started their illustrations today, and wow – the details! Lots of shovels, cradles, even baby bottles dripping milk onto the floor… great!”

“My students really enjoyed their ‘Class Movie’, and the ‘Twin Calves’ video. They were really excited for your note back to them about Vincent Bumblebee Jackson 😉 [their class ‘pet’ … a stuffed alligator’] . He is a BIG part of our class 😉 .”

“Thanks again for everything you are doing to make this project so enjoyable. You have great ideas. Are you sure you aren’t a teacher???”

Teacher Comments-Quote 02c“The kids will love the movie you made of their drawings!”

“Thank you for all the extra work you have put into the project. The students are loving it.”

“The kids LOVED seeing their pictures from last week [in their class movie]. Thanks!”

“I was very pleased this week to see how carefully the students listened to part 3 for details. And they are loving the new pages about groundhogs, weather, time.”

“Today we were reviewing / learning about different kinds of questions and learning how to make ‘substantive’ comments. So, one of these days you are going to be flooded with questions and comments from my class.”

“Please see the attached for Week Two of the Christmas Wind. We completed these illustrations with a substitute teacher, and she absolutely loved the project!”

Teacher Comments-Quote 02d“Hi! This is the second set! All done and coloured! Looking forward to part 2 and the trading cards! I think my students re getting more and more involved each week. The pictures were more detailed this week by several of them.”

“I’m forwarding our illustrations for part 2. I was very pleased at how much more effort most of them put into their illustrations this week. They are really being drawn into the story now.”

“Part 2 is attached! My students loved watching the video from their pictures last week. Thank you!”

Teacher Comments-Quote 02e“I watched the class movie. The students are going to love it. I listened to Part 2 and as I’m listening to it, I too am thinking of what I would draw. I am so happy to be a part of this project. We are drawing part 2 tomorrow morning. Can’t wait!”

“Here are the week two illustrations. What an amazing amount of work you have done with this project. We loved seeing our pictures in the video you created. We can’t wait to hear the next part of the story.”

“The kids LOVED the movie. We listened to part 2, and will re-listen and start illustrations tomorrow.”

“The students were soooooo excited to watch their pictures while listening to part 1! They really took off on illustrating part 2 and I think you will find they have much more detail in these next set of illustrations.”

“Thank for sending our class movie. I had been looking for it all day :0) It was great. The kids will love it.”

Teacher Comments-Quote 02f“Thanks! You are so organized!! My students are so excited about doing Part 2. Karen’s class [Grade 5’s taking pictures of the Grade 1/2s drawings] is also excited to be involved by doing the tech part.”

“The students are very much looking forward to getting started, and we appreciate how much work you’ve put into it to make it easier for us!”

“The students are finding this interesting. They will complete their drawing tomorrow morning. I am so looking forward to see how it ends. Thanks for giving my students this opportunity.”

“Both of us [teachers] listened to your first chapter and described to each other what we would have drawn. I know my grade 5 students are feeling very important being involved in the photo taking of the pictures.”

Teacher Comments-Quote 02g“Please find attached our drawings for Part 1. We had a blast and we can’t wait for Part 2 next week!”

“We got off to a great start yesterday. The students listened with intense interest and care to part 1, and began working on their illustrations. I used the page template provided and allowed the kids to choose their medium. Most chose felt-tipped markers – because they don’t usually get to use them. (We mostly use coloured pencils for various reasons – neatness, fine motor practice.) Some of the pictures may be a little hard to interpret – without being able to ask what things are (scarves, a lightpost, black clouds over the sun, who knows? 🙂 But the kids loved the process – so that’s what’s important.”

“I am preparing a letter for parents letting them know what we are up to, and I wondered if I could share the link to our website. The students were intrigued by the idea it was “secret” and we have a password, so I just wanted to check.”

“As I type the kids are working diligently on their drawings of Part 1 of The Christmas Wind. So far – so good. I’ll collect their work in a while and send it off to you soon. They seemed to enjoy the story. Already students are asking if we will be able to do some face time with you. I hear the chatter increasing, and must return my attention to the class.”

Teacher Comments-Quote 01f

YT-Grey Mountain Primary-Thank You Note from Student

CLICK IMAGE to enlarge

“Here is part 8 …sad to send the last part off 🙁 ”

“This is part 2 🙂 The kids enjoyed the video a lot.”

“[The send-me-a-voice-message app] is really neat! The students were shy at the beginning but after <<student name>> went, a couple more decided they wanted to record a message as well!”

“I’ve uploaded the part 8 illustrations! They were very excited (and sad) to finally reach part 8! They’re hoping The Christmas Wind is Back Again – that is, that the book comes out soon haha”

“I have uploaded parts 5 and 6 of The Christmas Wind for my Grade 1-2 class. The students cannot believe that it’s almost over.”

“Thanks again for you reply to students’ questions. They loved it.”

“It is an amazing activity and the students are loving it. Can’t wait to see what they visualize this week.”

“<<Student name>> says: ‘I like the videos that you make!’ The students are looking forward to seeing their work on ‘the big screen’ (aka the classroom Smartboard)!”

“Thank you so much for doing this project. My students are absolutely hooked on listening to the next part of the story. I get asked multiple times a week ‘When can we work on The Christmas Wind?’!”

“We just completed Part 8. The children have mixed feelings. They couldn’t wait to hear the ending but yet they don’t want it to be over.”

“For the parent teacher interviews I set up a bulletin board featuring several illustrations, pages from the website, the map, trading cards...  I was pleased with how it turned out and I think parents were impressed.  Some parents said they had been following along at home. Others had heard their kids mention it but hadn’t really paid attention. I think they will now. I am going to resend them the website info this week. Thank you for all you’ve done to make this a very rewarding project – it’s been great!”

“I think the students might really enjoy drawing their predictions. It’s going to feel funny not having a new part to listen to / illustrate.”

“One little girl from grade 1 is very enthusiastic about it. She even came back to school one afternoon when they had been away so she didn’t miss hearing the last part.”

“My kidlets have been very good in reminding me to send their pictures to you on a daily basis. ‘Miss, remember, don’t forget to send the pictures to Stephanie’ 😉 . They are super excited to record a message to you as well 🙂 .”

“There is going to be a picture of us and our grade 5 helpers posted in our folder. Instead of making scarves, we all wore our winter scarves. Also, our final pictures are in the folder too. We had some tears when it was over!!”

“We hope you liked our audio recordings. We had a lot of fun doing them.  We can’t thank you enough for all your hard work making this such a special project for us.”

“We will be adding seven pictures to our folder as to what we think will happen next. Some of the students worked in pairs. We have two “romantic” groups that think Mr. Murdock and Merry will get married. We have 2 groups that think that Jo and the family will leave on the bus, one group that thinks Jo and the family will stay with Mr. Murdock, and two groups that think they will go back home. Hope you like our pictures!!”

“Thanks so much for all your work and your thoughtful involvement with the children (and teachers!). I loved seeing the sketches of the book and can’t wait to see the final product. Jennifer has also planned an evening with the parents of her students tomorrow night and I’m excited to be able to attend and enjoy seeing the kids share this project with their parents. She is a wonderful teacher and has taken your project and really made it an unforgettable experience for her students. Your work and her work have been a perfect match-up.”

“As Wendy told you, I am having a Video reveal party tonight for the students and their parents. I am expecting about 65 people!! I will take some pictures and send them to you. The kids are very anxious to show their parents what they have done during this project.”

“This was an amazing project and it was loved by all the students. We are feeling very fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate.”

“We have had a great time working on the Christmas Wind Project! The students looked forward to hearing the different parts from week to week. I am so glad we were introduced to this! Thank you for all your hard work too! The students are really enjoying the trading cards!”

“My students already miss the Christmas Wind project. I have a few students who keep drawing about the project in their journals.”

“If you weren’t already convinced how much my students loved this project, I thought I would share this with you. Every week, my students pick jobs. One of the jobs is being a grapher. Three of the students chose this job for this week. They presented their question and choices to us today. The question was, “Which is your favourite Christmas Wind character?” Our choices were Jo, Mr. Murdoch and Merry. They then have to survey the class to collect their data, graph the results and present the final graph to the class. Just to let you know, the results were: 3 preferred Merry, 10 preferred Jo and 7 Mr. Murdoch. I asked the three who picked Merry to explain why (I was sure no one would pick her thinking the girls would probably pick Jo and the boys would pick Mr. Murdoch) they answered that they liked how she coughed!! and they loved how Mr. Murdoch picked her up and carried her to the house. By the way, 2 of the boys picked Merry! So, the project extended into the Math curriculum!”

The Trading Cards

“Just wanted to let you know our parcel arrived on Friday. We had a quick look. There were lots of oo’s and ah’s. The kids are excited.”

“This is so great! We are loving the letters that we receive in the mail from other schools. We will be sending ours out this week. The school from Quebec invited us to Skype with them.”

Teacher Comments-Quote 03a“We received our first package on Friday from Quebec! The kids were super excited about it, and we loved opening it up together to see the trading cards and letters. What a cool experience!”

“We will let you know when we officially send off our trading cards and letters. The students put together a little All About Me booklet for other students.”

“Our first letter from Lennoxville arrived – very exciting.”

“We are writing about our favourite places around the island and making it in to a book with photos and illustrations.”

Teacher Comments-Quote 03b“The trading cards are here! Soooooo incredible! I can’t wait to dig in more and check it out.”

“We are happy about these cards. ‘We like it,’ said another student. <<Student name>> reminded me that we ‘have to say thank you if we get them.’ Lol”

“I DID get a few of the kids writing really nice pen pal letters. There are great links in that to the social studies program.”

“We have one slow computer in our classroom. Our younger students here don’t have email, but I am hoping to figure out a way we might use skype [with the other classes]. No cameras or mics on our old computers here at school, but I can bring my laptop from home. Oh, the joys of technology in a rural school.”

“The trading card looks fantastic. What a neat way to connect with other places in Canada. I also love the weather idea on the page. You are very creative.”

“With regards to the trading cards, the children love it. We have written a letter to include with our cards.”

“Nice work, Stephanie. I’m sure the trading cards will be fun. … and the weather, too. We just so happen to have a grade 3 weather buff in our midst.”

“Love this idea! Looking forward to getting the cards and starting pen pals with their cards too. Such fun!”

“The card looks fantastic, Stephanie! This is a great idea!”

“What a fantastic idea. The trading card for our school looks great. Thanks for all your great ideas. It is so great that you are taking this beyond your book. I am so happy to be involved in this project.”

“We have received letters from two schools so far. The kids are super excited to get the mail.”

“We are making a little book of our favourite places on the island for the other classes. We plan to send a copy to you as well. I have a couple absent so I need them to return from Florida before I can get the book done so they can be in the group author picture. Plus I need a clear day to get the pictures from all the places. They are helping me write the text for the story. We are doing that as a group. Then they will each choose a place to illustrate to go with the photo. I think it will be nice. I plan to get sleeves for trading cards for each of them so they can keep the cards together. Also I think I will laminate the illustrations and make them into a book so they can keep them as a keepsake.”

“My computer wasn’t working after the techies came to “upgrade” it after break, LOL. We haven’t been able to access the Christmas Wind project at all this week. It is happening today 🙂 Did open our mail though. We have received letters from Quebec, NWT, Newfoundland, BC, Saskatchewan, Yukon and Ontario. We opened many of them yesterday. It has been great for the kids learning about general knowledge about Canada  🙂 The letters are all so different, which makes it great 🙂 We are going to finish our covers this week and I will assemble the books ASAP!”

“We have our letters and trading cards all in the envelopes now, so I should be getting them into the mail tomorrow. I was very pleased with how the class participated in planning and composing the letter – it was very much a group effort. We also read all of our received letters (9 so far) and distributed the trading cards to everyone last week. They had a little time to look at them, but I am planning to use them for some of my guided reading groups next week.  There’s so much good information there! I am also now displaying our letters and trading cards from other schools on the wall next to the bulletin board, so other students and teachers in our school are enjoying them, too.”

Curriculum Connections

Teacher Comments-Quote 03d“I only have Monday and Tuesday to work with (Wed. is our 100th day, Thursday I’m out, and Friday is a PD day) and I will be trying to fit in some more assessments before report cards (due next Monday) and parent teacher interviews (the following week). But we won’t miss doing our part 6 illustrations – we are all looking forward to that! So much of the fun stuff I used to do – themes and special projects – are gone now to make way for progress monitoring, prompt writing for moderated marking, data collection, triangulation… In a year when it feels like all I do is assess, I am ever so thankful for the Christmas Wind.”

“I’m going to assemble my students’ drawings from all of the parts and make them a little book of the story. I was hoping to have this ready for them to show their parents during parent/teacher night next week. They would love to see all of the hard work that we have been doing with you!”

Teacher Comments-Quote 04a“I really loved the students’ drawings for part 4. I noticed that in their other drawings, a lot of the grade one students always had your characters smiling. So I did a lesson last week about facial emotions in illustrations and I had hoped that it would transfer into their own pictures today without me spelling it out. Happily, I think it did!! They can’t wait for Part 5 and Part 6 where they find out about “Merry”. That has them intrigued.”

“I DID get a few of the kids writing really nice pen pal letters. There are great links in that to the social studies program.”

“I think we’ll try pastels this week. Eventually we’ll get to a place where they have tried different mediums and will be choosing which tools to use. Thanks for the feedback on the gel markers. They were excited too. I appreciate you adding the link each time. It saves me digging through tons of emails. I am very grateful that you include the link to our log in page.”

Teacher Comments-Quote 04b“The kids were very excited to hear your voice today when I played the clip. Lots of teachable moments such as using the whole page (some did and some didn’t).”

“They loved the process and we really had the chance to get into a good discussion about the “Art of listening”. Thanks for including us.”

“I am learning so much new technology!!!”

“We have some students that are struggling with visualizing based on oral story/prompts. Should we talk it through with the class after we listen or should we let them look on to their peers? Just wondering as I could separate the ones that were original ideas and send a 2nd batch that needed prompting….or it doesn’t matter and help them if needed? Sounds like you are okay with us listening as a group. think time to visualize, then repeat and then have a discussion about what images, words we heard, model some of those items quickly for our ELL and then a final listen where they go off and ‘give it a go’. Sounds fun. We have been modeling with other stories but they haven’t drawn it – just talked about what they saw in their minds eye. Thanks for your speedy reply. I am more relaxed knowing that we aren’t ‘doing it wrong if we help guide them to pull some details since it is their first try at this (following up with artwork).”

“We’d love to be pen pals or learn to use technology to communicate with other classes.”

Teacher Comments-Quote 04c“Perfect! We have worked with a variety of mediums. This will be a great chance to implement an artists workshop :)”

“This looks marvelous. I’ve just forwarded the information to the grade 3 teacher with whose class I will be doing the project. I will be working with this group every Tuesday for one hour. So far we’ve been learning about Mindfulness and I think this will tie in nicely; mindful listening and all that.”

“Thanks so much for the awesome replies [to our questions on our class page for the biographies we’re writing]!!!!! It must have taken you forever!!!!!!! The kids learned a lot. You were very patient.”

“Thanks so much for doing this! We watched it this morning and they were sooooo excited! We also had a couple of questions/comments that I left for you in the “leave a reply” section! We’re having so much fun with this! Thank you again!”

“Thanks for that additional insight about the barn. It is great for students to get to hear stories that inspired the author.”

“Here are the illustrations for week number 7. We have really been working on focusing on one specific part of the story to do our illustrations about.”

The Story

Teacher Comments-Quote 04d“I loved the end of the story. I’m not sure why, but it surprised me and brought a tear to my eye – it was perfect. The students spontaneously all just started to clap. It was really special.”

“When you said you had read it so many times, it reminded me that many of my students now have much of it memorized! And they all bang on Mr. Murdock’s door right along with Jo and call out in unison phrases like “My barn, my business!” Wish you could see/hear them 🙂 Oh, and we tried to use the voice mail app today, but my mic wasn’t working. My principal said I could buy one – perhaps on the weekend.”

“The teachers all gasped when you read the part in Part 4 that the baby was gone! We are looking forward to part 5.”

“We are just finishing up our illustrations and I will have them off to you by Friday of this week. The story is definitely getting exciting.”

“Curious to see which portion of Part 4 they pick. I’m curious to hear what happens in Part 5. What a cliffhanger in Part 4!!”

Teacher Comments-Quote 03e“Here are the illustrations for week four. Definitely a cliffhanger ending. Can’t wait to see what happens in the next episode.”

“Some were hoping Murdock got the shovel LOL. Others sadly wanted a Disney ending with a wedding LOL. They really liked the ending! It surprised them a bit. I think they were kind of sad to see it end though…”

“We loved when Jo and Mr. Murdock woke up and there was snow on the ground and Mr. Murdock had decorated the house for Christmas.  It was different for us to hear that Mr. Murdock decorated the tree with straw and spoons.  The end was very hopeful.  It sounds that there could be a second book!!”

The Start

Teacher Comments-Quote 04e“The grade 2’s are excited to participate in ‘The Christmas Wind’ project. We listened to Part 1 this morning during our ELA time.”

“I am so excited by this as will be my students. I am so happy to start this project this week.”

“I have you slotted for my LA slot first thing Monday morning 🙂 Hoping it goes well and they are excited. The principal is coming for the launch, he is excited that we were chosen to do this. I am thinking I would like to bind their books in some way to have a beautiful final project as it will be lot of class time devoted to this project. I think our in class bulletin board will highlight our work on imagery during this project to showcase their work. I will send pics.”

“I met with the grade 2/3 class on Friday to let them know all about the project. They are very excited and quite anxious to get started.”

“The first class went great. The students loved it. They are anxiously waiting for the next class.”

Teacher Comments-Quote 04f“Please see the attached pictures from Week one of the story. It was a pleasure to listen to part one and we’re looking forward to next week! Thank you so much for doing this!”

“I know my students will enjoy this project and I look forward to taking part in it. Thank you for the opportunity!”

“I am very excited to start the project with my class.”

“Thank you for having me on board, I am very excited! My students will love this.”

“Over the past 2 weeks I read the students in grade 3 both Leon’s Song and The Chicken Cat and told them we were going to be working on a special project with the author. They are very excited.”

“I peeked over at your site it looks like this will be an awesome opportunity 🙂 Can’t wait.”

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