HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. >> Author Ben Mikaelsen visited Hoosick Falls Central School District on February 11 to speak to students about his experiences. He also conducted a 'Writer's Workshop' with the students.
Ben is an award-winning, national book author with 10 published books. His presentations are on bullying and how he became an author. He also worked with the older students in helping them to find the heart of the story.
Ben was bullied as a child, partially because he did not know how to read until he was in the 4th grade. He struggled in part because English is his second language.
Seventh grade ELA teacher Ms. Brownell organized the visit and said, "It was an honor to have distinguished author Ben Mikaelsen visit with us today at HFCS. He shared some of his vast experiences and insights about life with us that seemed to touch everyone in the room. I was awestruck at Ben's way of connecting, engaging and relating to people of all ages. One of the many things I personally took away from his visit was not viewing my mistakes as regrets, but realizing without those teachable moments, I wouldn't be the person I am today."
7th-grade student Zoey Becker said, "One thing that stood out was when he told us about how he was bullied, and it pushed him to be better and overcome his bullies."
Ayla Fauler, also in 7th grade said, "I'm glad he did a workshop – it was very entertaining and informative." Becker added, "I was impressed with how he presented his story – he is a true storyteller, and I hope that someday I can tell stories as well as
Mr. Mikaelsen was impressed with the students at Hoosick Falls Central School, saying about them, "These kids were very well prepared and respectful. That doesn't just happen on its own." He explained, "I visit many schools and each has a personality.
Hoosick Falls students showed a great deal of cooperativeness, and the mutual respect students have for one another, as well as for the staff, and the staff for the students made this a very satisfying visit."
The 7th-grade students in Mrs. Brownell's English class had a project based assessment to conclude their work with Ben Mikaelsen's book 'Touching Spirit Bear.'
The students had an opportunity to express creatively how particular scenes from the book stood out to them, what life lessons they gained from the novel as well as how they could relate to the characters from the book. These projects were in the form of dioramas, totem poles, journals, writing of an additional chapter of the book, songwriting Ms. Brownell thanks the Student Council and the PTA for helping to fund Mr. Mikaelsen's visit.