For the past year, magical Claire Stano has created a wondrous space in our writing lab on Wednesday evenings for our 6-8 year old writers. Each week, Claire thoughtfully selects a children’s book to read during a Wee-Bots Drop-in Writing session and builds a lesson plan around the story. Claire is a researcher by profession, and this is clear because of how carefully Claire chooses great books to inspire our bots, books that celebrate diverse main characters and cultural traditions, books that delight our students with onomatopoeia, rhyme, and collective nouns, books that encourage our students to write about characters who change and grow, and that introduce our writers to new genres (Letters! Weather reports! Bedtime stories! Informative texts! Poetry! Collaborative stories! Magical realism!).
Claire — like our founder Dave Eggers — comes from a family of educators and librarians; her lifelong love of learning and genuine enthusiasm for books and for writing cannot be — and should never be — contained! Claire takes great joy in hearing each bot share their work at the end of the session; she creates special sharing ceremony at the end of the hour every week, with each reader having their own turn to read from the big comfy chair to the audience. Whether we have one bot or a full gear (the collective noun Claire created for a class of Wee-Bot writers), Claire’s deep investment in the program and the writers is felt by all in her encouraging comments. This winter, Claire channeled her amazing sense of humor and experience as Editor in Chief of The Every Three Weekly, to develop and lead a fabulous satire workshop for our high school students. These are just a few of the many things that make Claire a spirited, dedicated teacher and a pleasure to collaborate with on lessons and writing workshops.
Not only does Claire create a magical, inclusive space for our students, but she makes volunteers feel welcomed and appreciated—from talking about podcasts and American Girl dolls before Wee-bots to inviting volunteers to gather for dinner after (most often, pizza or burritos).
When Claire, the resident children’s book trivia champion, shows up at Board Game Night with her Boston terrier Dot (short for Dorothy Parker—-I know) in tow, hearts melt and there is audible excitement in the room. Claire has a natural ability to make friends and have thoughtful, engaging conversations with everyone she encounters. Dot is also VERY good at making friends everywhere she goes—when the duo wear their matching Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair t-shirts, our delight-processors short-circuit.
It makes sense that Claire is so excellent at developing rapport, because by day she is a psychologist at the VA. Our gratitude is magnified knowing that she makes volunteering a priority while holding such a demanding job.
Claire Stano, just like Mrs. Twinkle,* you help our students and all those around you in the best ways, empowering others to feel good about themselves, excited about ideas, and at home in the wonderous world.
*a teacher who is character in one of Claire’s favorite children’s books, Chrysanthemum