Twin Lakes Students Learn about Mount Rushmore from Local Author Tina Nichols Coury
by Michele Earle
February 19, 2014 • 347 views
Well-known author, Tina Nichols Coury recently visited Twin Lakes Elementary School in the Mountain View School District to present an assembly about Mount Rushmore and share her experiences as an author with the kindergarten through sixth grade students. Coury grew up in El Monte and is the author of “Hanging Off Jefferson’s Nose: Growing Up on Mount Rushmore” an award winning non-fiction book that brings to life the story of Lincoln Borglum, the boy who helped build Mount Rushmore. The book reveals the untold story of the struggles and triumphs involved in the building of America’s greatest monument.
Prior to Coury’s visit, students read the book in class and conducted research on Mount Rushmore. Twin Lakes’ teachers used the author’s Common Core curriculum and developed their own constructed response templates to engage students in discussions and activities on America’s history. After reading the book and participating in the lessons, students were able to identify the four presidents on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and know the history of the monument. Additionally, they took part in a writing and illustration contest where they picked who should be the fifth person on Mount Rushmore. Some of the nominations included Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King and Twin Lakes’ principal, Helen Heller. Coury awarded one student from each class a prize for their essay. Students in each grade level with the highest Accelerated Reader (AR) points received a signed copy of the book, and were treated to lunch with the author.
The interactive assembly provided a fun time for students who enjoyed dressing up as the four presidents on Mount Rushmore, as they learned about the achievements of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Coury shared how she found the story idea for her book and showed the students her first drafts and fascinating historical photos. She encouraged them to work hard and always try their best, and emphasized the importance of persistence when learning a new skill or following a dream.
“We were thrilled to have Tina Nichols Coury visit our school,” said Helen Heller, Twin Lakes’ principal. “Her presentation was informative, full of historical questions, and educational with lots of student participation. It was truly a wonderful event enjoyed by students, teachers and parents.”