I called today's post "Oh happy day" because that's the song I was singing before I started writing this blog.
I did have a happy day -- I was "Zooming" (have you noticed how that's become a word?) with three Grade Five classes at Forest Hill Senior Elementary School in St. Lazare. Must say the kids were smart, fun and full of life. I think I was supposed to energize them, but I know for sure they energized me!
Here are some highlights of the day --
I started with Ms. Rousseau's class, where among other things, I discussed the IMPORTANCE OF OBSERVATION. To demonstrate, I observed a student wearing a sparkly dress. In all my years of teaching (34!), I have never taught a student who sparkled like that. That's how I learned it was Shelby's birthday -- and that her dress was a "disco dress." Now that's just the kind of UNUSUAL DETAIL a writer could use in a book!
We also discussed how the pandemic is shaping the world of stories -- and I told the students to be sure to take notes about their own experiences during this challenging period of history. So I was delighted when a student named Gurdeep told me she took notes when her classes were online. "I kept notes about life and lessons," she explained. Way to go, Gurdeep! I hope you'll use those notes in a book one day!
And I had to laugh when a student named Jack asked, "Do your hands ache after a long period of writing?" As I told Jack, I never really thought about it -- because I'm always so happy after a long period of writing... that I don't pay much attention to my hands!
Before lunch, I worked with Ms. Fraser's class. When I talked about the necessity for rewriting, I heard Ms. Fraser say, "Oh gosh yes" -- that also made me laugh. As Ms. Fraser went on to explain, "Once we Grade Fives put our ideas on paper, we're done." Well, Grade Fives, you're now done with being done after you put your ideas on paper. First drafts are JUNK. But they're an important start. Imagine how good your writing will be once you're on draft three, or four ... or nine!
One of Ms. Fraser's students, Chloe, asked me, "When you write something sad, do you ever get emotional?" I thought that was a beautiful, sensitive question -- and the answer is YES. As I told Chloe and her classmates, I'm not afraid of being sad. Also, it's an important emotion in many stories.
I finished the day with Madame Sarah's class. To be honest, I was a wee bit tired, but boy, did they ever liven me up! That's them (or at least some of them) in today's pic. Usually, in my workshops, I cover seven or eight pointers, but with this class, i covered ELEVEN! I have never done that before! I think it's because I could tell the students were really absorbing my pointers! Laurie had three questions. Here they are: 1. "Did you like the smell of the boxing ring?" [the answer is yes]. 2. "Did you write any books with other people?" [the answer is no, but maybe I will one day] and 3. "What was the first book you made?" [the answer is a book I made in Grade Five].
How cool is that? I was working with students who are the same age I was when I wrote my first book!
And you guys have way more interesting lives than I did. So, here's my advice -- get cracking on your stories.
Thanks to Ms. Hausen for arranging today's Zoom sessions; thanks to Ms. Rousseau, Ms. Fraser, and Madame Sarah, for sharing your students with me; thanks to the kids for an oh-so-happy day.