The sweet face in today's pic belongs to Kiara -- one of the students I worked with again today at Laval Junior Academy. It turns out that Kiara took the advice I gave her class last week to heart: to make writing a habit! See that notebook Kiara is holding up? It's her new journal -- and she's written six entries in it since last Friday. Yay, Kiara! You totally made my day. Nothing makes me happier than getting kids hooked on writing!

So, I jotted down all kinds of interesting notes for today's blog post. Now I have to SELECT my favourites. (I told the students how for writers, the SELECTION of DETAILS is an important part of the writing process.) So here come a few details from today's workshops.

When I was telling Miss Milea's Grade 7 class about different kinds of writing they could do in their journals (catharsis, observation, reflection and intution), I explained that intuitive writing can include making lists, writing about dreams, and drawing with words. A student named Megan said, "You mean 'rule-breaking writing.'" I LOVED THAT LINE. I am going to start using it myself, Megan!

To get the first group started, I asked them to write a mini-journal, explaining how they were feeling, why they were feeling that way, and what they want to do about it. I was impressed by what a student named Tina came up with: she wrote that she was feeling nervous about tomorrow's auditions for the school play. Then she added, "I always imagine the worst. Maybe I need to think about the best case instead." Great work, Tina! And it proves my point that writing can help us clarify our thoughts -- and plan our actions.

I used the same exercise with Miss Farrell's Grade 7 class. I loved how Sarah started her writing with the line, "Dear LIfe." (I think that would make a great book title, don't you?) And I loved how Giulianna began her writing: "Dear Dumb Diary." (Another great book title!) Later, I had the class write about a memory of when they were five years old. I was amazed by what this exercise led to. Two of the boys said their memories were so disturbing they preferred not to remember them. That's when I explained that WRITING TAKES COURAGE. I also explained that they might try FICTIONALIZING their experiences. They might try inventing a new character to go through what they did. My theory is that if you are able to remember something it's because your heart is telling you IT'S TIME TO WRITE ABOUT IT!

I finished the day with Miss Milea's Grade 8 class. A student named Alex told me he loves playing hockey. I told him publishers are super interested in books about team sports. Get started on your book, Alex! Alex said, "I have trouble writing three words." That led me to explain that I have trouble writing too. The trick is to KEEP WRITING PAST THE TROUBLE!!

I'll be back at Laval Junior Academy on December 21 for my last visit of the season. Hey, if you guys want to bring me your writing to look at, how about I eat my lunch in Miss Milea's classroom that day -- and we can talk about your writing?

Thanks to Miss Farrell and Miss Milea for having me. Thanks to the students for your energy -- and your great stories!