Celebrating School Traditions

By TECS News Team

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Celebrating School Traditions
Children’s book author Marty Kelley was guest speaker after Spring Break.
With children being back in their classrooms, it was a wonderful time to celebrate the staff at TECS. Teacher Appreciation Day is a national event and at Topanga, the love and appreciation celebrations are spearheaded by the dedicated Topanga Enrichment Programs (TEP) volunteers. Teachers were treated to a luncheon on Friday from Canyon Bakery on behalf of TEP. Gifts, flowers, and handmade cards were brought in by the children throughout the week. It was truly heartwarming to see the children give these tokens of appreciation in person. Another benefit of the return to campus was Picture Day. Miriam Geer, the photographer who has beautifully captured the TECS community for many years, took portraits of all the kids who were back on campus, and even arranged to take photos of the home cohort so that all children of TECS would be able to get a photo of this milestone year. After Spring Break, a guest speaker, Marty Kelley, was brought in to kick off the last weeks of school with a special virtual assembly for the children’s book author and illustrator of the “Molly Mac” series, “Experiment #256,” “Fame, Fortune and the Bran Muffins of Doom,” and many others. Kelley’s talk was proudly billed as “The Best Author Visit Ever.” He Zoomed in to TECS with an upbeat and engaging presentation and talked about all the jobs he’s had: “a baker, a cartoonist, a newspaper art director, a drummer in a heavy metal band, a balloon delivery guy, an animator, and lots of other things,” but he especially loves his career as a visual storyteller. His virtual visit was made possible by VAPA (the TECS Visual and Performing Arts sub-committee) and was spearheaded by S. Miria Jo, Leadership Parent Representative. The event was embraced by the teachers who made time in their busy class schedules for this special assembly. We listened in on the very engaged second grade classes of Ms. Galindo and Ms. Chatham. Kelley had the kids in stitches as he led them on a virtual tour of his studio and gave insights into his creative process. “I used to be a second-grade teacher,” he told the kids, “and I know what they are really going to enjoy…a smoochy, kissy, love story!!!” The kids curled their toes, squirmed in their seats, closed their eyes, and hid under tables. “Ha ha!” he said, “Just kidding!” Instead, he introduced them to his most popular book, “Almost Everybody Farts.” The children came back to their screens again with rapt attention! “Sisters fart. Goldfish fart. Unicorns fart… Mothers do not fart!” The kids were thrilled. Then, he shared his unabashed love of his job. Being a children’s book author is clearly his true passion and he told some “shocking” secrets about the life of a children’s book author. #1: Authors never have to get out of their pajamas! “Good writers read their work over and over so it sounds as good as I can make it.” He talked about drawing his illustrations: “The more I do it, the better I will get. I practice and practice. I don’t get this right the first time.” For second graders, who often worry about things not being perfect, this was a real revelation. Ms. Chatham, who has been a second-grade teacher at Topanga for many years, asked if he had any advice for kids or grown-ups who get frustrated. Marty Kelley replied, “My best advice is, stop, take a break for a while. If I feel like it’s not working, I take a break. If a story isn’t working, I ask myself if it could come from a different point of view. Or change the format. I think all writers get frustrated, but it means you’re thinking about it and putting effort into it.” During time set aside for questions, many of the kids shared that they had already worked on their own books. Flora shared that she is working on a book with her mama; Zoe W. said that she already has a daily art practice; and Coakley shared her own drawings. The kids were so engaged by the presentation that VAPA plans to make the author visit a yearly event, so that students can continue to be inspired. To learn more, visit martykelley.com—For All Your Marty Kelley Needs!™ The Annual Auction is Live! One of the school’s traditions, the annual Gala, is online only this year. Topanga Elementary’s school auction is live now and ends on June 2. Go to: biddingforgood.com/topangaelementary, to see the many great things you can bid on: Amazing goods and services from some of our favorite local shops and restaurants like Pebbles, Moona Star, Canyon Gourmet, Focus Fish, Topanga Creek Outpost, Inn of the Seventh Ray, Rituel Beauty, Canyon Bistro, The Well Refill, Theatricum Botanicum, Fun Flicks Outdoor Movies, Baltic Mermaid, Citrine Interiors, and so many more. Some of our favorite (and amazing) local artisans such as Megan Geer and Cheryl Cambras; exciting experiences like “Principal for a Day;” private cooking class, virtual theater games, sunset boat cruise, Mammoth getaway and more! A huge thank you to all the wonderful local businesses who are supporting the school through their contribution to the auction.

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May 28, 2021

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