Sunday, June 21, 2015

Charlie Russell and the Margin Project

Charles M Russell created over 4000 pieces of art in his lifetime  (documented numbers).   Charlie often illustrated his letters to friends.  Writing for him was a challenging endeavor, his spelling is thought provoking.

In 1902 B.B. Kelly loaned Charlie his copy of A. C. Laut's "The Story of the Trapper".  When Charlie returned the book  B.B. discovered to his delight about 16 new illustrations in the margins.  B.B. died in 1920 at which time he conveyed the book to his infant godson, Stephen A. Birch.  It remained in his private collection until his death in 2009.

The Birch heirs have leant it to the Montana Historical Society where it is on exhibit.  Several of the illustrations have been reprinted as cards that can be purchased at the Museum Gift Store.

Charlie's talent is amazing, but using art to synthesize reading is within all students ability.  Corbett Harrison uses Mr Stickman in his classroom.  You can find his original handouts at along with how some of his students used it in their notebooks.

I would also like to share some information about the "Margin Project" and how some teachers and librarians are using it with their students.  Select books are chosen to be written in.  (You didn't ever think you would hear that from a librarian.)

The first reader adds notes as he/she reads.  Then the book is passed on.  The second reader add their own notes and sometimes responds to the notes from the previous reader.  Then the book is passed on.  Reading has become a more social experience.  My friend Kathi has used the Margin Project to the delight of some of her book clubs.

Read more at Jen Malone's site!margin-project/cpa5

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