Cure Cottage Storybooks
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Grade: 4th - 8th
Class: Art Class
Author: Sandra Hildreth
Retired - Madrid-Waddington Central School
NYS Content Area Standard:
The Arts:
Standard 1: Creating, Performing, and Participating in the Arts
Standard 4: Understanding the Cultural Dimensions and Contributions of the Arts
NYS Interdisciplinary Standard:
Social Studies:
History of the United States and New York
Adirondack Curriculum Content Area:
Human History
Performance Indicators:

Art 1: use the elements and principles of art to communicate specific meanings to others in their art work (c)

Art 4: create art works that reflect a particular historical period of a culture (c).

SS 1: investigate key turning points in New York State and United States history and explain why these events or developments are significant

ELA 2:Language for literary response and expression

  • write stories, poems, literary essays, and plays that observe the conventions of the genre and contain interesting and effective language and voice
  • use standard English effectively.
Keywords: Saranac Lake, tuberculosis, cure cottages, storybooks, book illustration
The Challenge:
Investigative Question or Issue: How can you tell a story about cure cottages in Saranac Lake?

This challenge is being designed for Art classes, but it will work best as an interdisciplianry project. Students should participate in a lesson about the history of curing in Saranac Lake (such as Saranac Lake Cure Cottage) prior to starting this challenge. Resources: Historic Saranac Lake, Historic Saranac Lake Wiki Site, and "Cure Cottages of Saranac Lake", by Phil Gallos.

As written, this challenge includes getting a local photographer to participate as a resource, providing an opportunity for students to learn abut photography as a career. Mark Kurtz, of Saranac Lake, will be used for this project. It might also be very useful to bring an author of children's books in as a resource. Two Adirondack authors who have done many projects in the schools are Liza Frenette and Sheri Amsel. Another local author, who could give tips on interviewing people, is Caperton Tissot.

Since this challenge involves writing a story, it would also be beneficial for students to do a lesson in their English Language Arts classes where they might analyze a children's story book to learn what important elements need to be included. Then after their introductory art class activities, perhaps the ELA teacher could help the students write the stories they plan to use in the creation of their own original storybooks. Liza Frenette, a children's book author with local ties, is a possible resource to use.

A number of digital cameras need to be available for student use, and the capacity to download images to a computer in order to view and print them. Access to computers for research and printing the stories is also desirable.

The Challenge:

Create a children's book (for young readers) that tells a historically accurate story about Cure Porches and curing in Saranac Lake.

Suggested Steps and Timeline:

  1. Students learn about the history of curing in Saranac Lake in their Social Studies class.
  2. If possible, visit Historic Saranac Lake and have a tour of a restored cure porch.
  3. Mark Kurtz, local professional photographer, comes to visit the art classroom, talks about his profession, and shows some pictures he has taken that document architectural structures. Guide the students through the process of identifying qualities of "good" photography. (This is something that either the students should write down, or it gets recorded on a poster for future application to their own work).
  4. Mark will accompany the students and their teacher as they do a walk around the block, identify and take photos of cure porches. (For teachers in areas that do not have cure porches, perhaps a bus trip to Saranac Lake can be arranged, in conjunction with a visit to Historic Saranac Lake)
  5. Put both Mark's and student photographs into a slide show and conduct a "kid-friendly" critique - to help them understand and learn the elements of a "good" photograph.
  6. Students (or teams of students) either use their own family cameras or borrow cameras available through the school with the assignment to visually document cure porches in their own neighborhoods. If possible interview neighors or family members who might live in homes with cure porches. Gather as much "local history" about them as possible. (Students in schools outside of the Saranac Lake area might just have to do their reserach on the Historic Saranac Lake Wiki site - see link above).
  7. Students are to write an original story (for a beginner reader) about curing in Saranac Lake. (This is where it would be helpful for an English Language Arts teacher to join the project and guide them through writing the stories. A guest author could also be helpful).
  8. The "book" is created in the Art classroom over __# of class periods.
    • Stories need to be original, based on fact, but can be about fictional characters and events.
    • Stories need to incorporate some of the local history gained from photographing porches and interviewing home owners.
    • Stories need to be accompanied by illustrations (photos and/or drawings or paintings)
  9. Completed book pages are photo copied and printed in color, and bound into real books (using the plastic coil binder machine that many schools have - or having it done at a copy store).
  10. Copies of the book are provided to elementary classrooms, and/or the school library, and a copy of each book is given to Historic Saranac Lake.


Quality Standards:

Some of these may be modified by the teacher(s), based on the grade level and abilities of their students, and available resources. It is suggested that book pages could be 11x17 pieces of paper, folded in half.

Each story book, whether created by an individual or a team should meet the following standards:

  • Cover illustration, title page, and a minimum of ___ (8 is suggested) pages. The back cover should be "about the author(s)".
  • The story needs to be original, with a beginning, middle, and end.
  • The story needs to be written for a beginning reader.
  • The story must include at least 3 accurate facts about curing in Saranac Lake, but can have other fictional elements and be about fictional characters
  • The story much contain 1 bit of information gained from interviewing family or neighbors.
  • The book needs at least 4 illustrations. These can be photos or original drawings or paintings or both. One must show what a cure porch looks like.
  • Text for the book should be typed and printed from a computer, then pasted onto pages along with the illustrations.
  • Story book needs to be shared with a younger child (read to a student or family member in a younger grade).
Product Quality Checklist
Print This Checklist
Standard/Criteria: Points Possible: Points Awarded:

Story book needs

  • a cover illustration,
  • title page,
  • a minimum of ___ pages, 
  • back cover "about the author"


Story needs to be original, with a beginning, middle, and end.


Story needs to be written for a beginning reader.


Story must include at least 3 accurate facts about curing in Saranac Lake, but can have other fictional elements and be about fictional characters


The story must contain 1 bit of information gathered from interviewing family or neighbors.


Illustrations (photos and/or paintings or drawings) should relate to the story. At least one must show a cure porch.


Text for the finished prouct should be typed and printed from a computer, then pasted onto a book page along with the illustrations.


Finished story books need to be shared with a younger child.


Books completed on time.


Artwork or writing or helping others above and beyond what is expected.


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