monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

2 minutes reading time (409 words)

Names, Names, Names!

So it's almost the end of my first week back as a pumpkin (I should say teacher -- that's a reference to a previous blog entry where I said I felt a little like the pumpkin in Cinderella who is transformed into a carriage). I've got about 105 students. I've taught ten or so of them before; the rest are new. So I've been working hard this week to learn names.

And I've been thinking about names in general and how they connect to identity (a major theme in children's and YA literature, and perhaps in all literature). So I thought I'd tell you a little story about learning a new name yesterday. In my morning class, I have a student named Xin (don't worry, I asked for her permission before I wrote this blog entry). Xin is Chinese and because I have taught many Chinese students, I know that the letter X is pronounced like an "s." So, Xin's name is pronounced "Sin." Well, I couldn't resist remarking that her name would be great for a character in a YA novel! And because I was telling the class (again!) about the importance of paying attention to details, I pointed out the colourful drawing on the outside of Xin's laptop. It's a drawing of Snow White and it turns out that Xin is a talented artist because she drew it herself. So, what about a story about a sweet girl named Xin, who draws innocent pictures of fairytale characters... but who is tempted by... can you guess where my mind is going here?... yes... SIN!

So you see, that's how stories often work for me. They start with a bit of truth and then I let my mind SPIN. 

Okay, gotta go. My mum's now at a rehab centre, so I'm going to drop by for a visit before I head to school. 

What are you reading by the way? I've got Iain Lawrence's new kids' book The Giant-Slayer. It's set in the 1950s but it has a major fantasy component. What I like best about it is that it's about storytelling. I've been underlining lines for you, dear blog reader. Here's one I liked -- nice and simple, but it stays with me: "She grew up wearing glasses as big as windows." When I read a book, I don't JUST read it, I STUDY it and try to find ways to help me improve my own writing. You should try that too!!

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The Baby Starts Kindergarten
 

Comments

Guest - tamat on Friday, 22 January 2010 01:00

glad to hear mum is out of the hospital! i am reading "dear john" by nicolas sparks... finding it a bit slow but not one but TWO people told me to read it so i am... i am sure once i get farther into the book it'll get better.

glad to hear mum is out of the hospital! i am reading "dear john" by nicolas sparks... finding it a bit slow but not one but TWO people told me to read it so i am... i am sure once i get farther into the book it'll get better.
Guest - Sophie on Saturday, 23 January 2010 17:19

Hey Mrs. Polak! It's been a while since I read your blog. I like the new theme - you've always liked red. Hope everything is well.

Hey Mrs. Polak! It's been a while since I read your blog. ;) I like the new theme - you've always liked red. Hope everything is well.
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