My heart feels very full after a second day of writing workshops at Kingsdale Academy. I'm accustomed to working with teenagers, so it was a special treat to work with Grades Three and Four classes last Friday and again today at Kingsdale. It was also a treat to work with Miss Arcamone, a wonderful, warm and skilled teacher. And today, even school principal Miss Glave came to sit in for part of a workshop. How cool is that? And what a great example for the students!
I love working with teenagers, who are grappling with so much and trying to figure themselves out. But the wonderful thing about working with younger students is that, in an odd way, they are more confident, more free when they put pen to paper.
Let me give you some examples. The title of today's blog entry is "My cat is so fat he's the size of two houses." That line was written by Zoe, and it cracked me up. So original and playful -- and can't you just imagine the illustration? I see a cat with two houses in his belly!
Today's pic comes from something a student named Bianca wrote in preparation for my visit today. When I met the kids last week, I asked them to interview someone elderly (such as a grandparent) and find out what the hardest thing was that that person ever went through. Bianca learned that by the time her grandfather was 15, both his parents were dead. Luckily, he was able to move in with his older sister. We talked about how, in stories (as in life), sad and heartwarming things can happen at the same time (such as the loss of both of the boy's parents, but also the supportive love of his big sister). Beautiful work, Bianca -- and I love your drawings too!
Another one of my favourite lines of the day came from a student named Trevon who began his story with the words, "Once when I was not born." BOOK TITLE ALERT! DON'T YOU LOVE IT?
A student named Rylan interviewed his grandmother who grew up in Trinidad. When she was five years old, she was ill, but no one believed her. So she had to go to work planting rice in the wetlands. Rylan even found out that there were snakes in the wetlands. What beautiful details, Rylan! Though I've never visited Trinidad, you took me there with your story.
Next week, I go back to teaching full-time at Marianopolis College after an eight-month sabbatical. But you know what? The school visits I've done the last few weeks have reminded me what a privilege it is to work with bright students, and enthusiastic teachers and librarians. To the kids at Kingsdale, you guys are amazing. Keep reading, keep writing. I have no doubt that some of you will become professional writers!