Do you know what a neologism is? I love neologisms -- they are invented words. So today's blog entry title "'Re-hello' at Laval Junior Academy" features a neologism invented by my friend, English teacher Ms. Milea. "Re-hello" was the perfect word to describe my experience today because I had a chance to do a second set of writing workshops with LJA students with whom I'd worked two weeks ago.
You are no doubt wondering what Justin is doing in today's pic. In one of the writing exercises I tried with the students, I asked them to use one of their five senses to describe something in the classroom. When I turned around, Justin was smelling his sweatshirt. "It smells like Tide," he told me, which I think is an excellent description. Definitely worth using in a story!
I worked with two of Ms. Milea's Grade 8 English classes. In the first class, there was an exciting, story-worthy event! Ms. Milea introduced a new student named Abigail. I told the class that in stories, interesting things happen when a new character comes knocking at the door, or is sitting at the back table in your classroom. It turns out Abigail is into stories. She told me, "I just read too many books this summer." Abigail, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS TOO MANY BOOKS!!
During another exercise, a student named Leah wrote about a girl named Hannah. When I asked if I could take a peek at Leah's story, she told me, "It's bad." That's when I had to explain to the whole class that first drafts ARE ALWAYS BAD -- that's why they're first drafts! Keep revising, Leah, and I guarantee you that Hannah's story will get better and better.
A student named Adam wrote a powerful piece about his grandafther who "lost both legs during World War II." Adam, even if your grandfather and grandmother are dead, you need to learn more about your grampa's story -- so that you can share it with readers. Something tells me it will be a story about survival, resilience and love (all big topics)!
I didn't have much time for taking notes in the second class. That's because I was busy reading stories the students had written since my last visit! YAY!!! But I did jot down Sofia's question: "What if you get writer's block?" I explained that if I get writer's block (I don't usually), I WOULD KEEP WRITING. I compared it to when I am out for a run and I get a stitch in my side. Unless it's appendicitis, I KEEP WRITING!
I'll be back at LJA tomorrow to finish up my writing workshops there. Looking forward to reading lots more stories!