I had another fun afternoon yesterday at Birchwood Elementary School in Saint-Lazare, working with the Grades Five and Six students I hadn’t met on my last visit.
I started the afternoon with Ms. Sellitto’s Grade Sixes. If you know me, you know one of the many reasons I enjoy school visits is it gives me a chance to collect NAMES for my future books. When students ask me questions, I always ask them to tell me their names first. A student who told me her name was Petra wanted to know which books I’d written. (I’ll skip my answer.) So I asked Petra if she knew there was an archaeological site named Petra. Then I asked her if she’d ever visited Petra. She said she hadn’t. But then another student named Zoe called out, “I’ve been to Petra’s!” Zoe meant she’d gone to Petra’s house – not to the archaeological site! It turns out the two girls live on the same street. Anyway, that cracked me up, and made me happy – partly because I knew this story would make for good material for this blog!!
Kailey, another one of Ms. Sellitto’s students told us, “I write stories about by dog Bailey. She was abandoned as a puppy.” You probably know I am OBSESSED with TROUBLE. (That’s because trouble makes a story move forward.) Bailey’s rough start in life is trouble for sure… so Kailey, take care of Bailey… and keep writing those stories about her!
A student named Ethan asked, “Do you ever have days when you’re stuck and can’t write?” I told Ethan the answer was yes – and also no. Yes, to the first part – I do have days when I feel stuck, but no to the second part. I can always write. So I shared my secret (okay, not-so-secret now) method for getting unstuck. I use all capitals and write all the bad things I am thinking – such as YOU ARE A TERRIBLE WRITER and STORY, YOU ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY! (Sometimes, I even use swear words.) Anyway, this method works for me because eventually after writing out all that bad stuff, something useful comes to me! Try my method next time you get stuck. Just don’t hand in any rude part to your teacher!!
I ended the afternoon with Madame Nathalie’s class (and some of Ms. Roberts’s students who weren’t at Birchwood on the day of my last visit). That’s me in today’s pic with one of the class rabbits! In this group, I covered a lot of writing tips and we ended the afternoon with a writing exercise. I thought because it was so late in the day, the students would have trouble focusing on writing, but they didn’t! They came up with all kinds of great story ideas. Anthony wrote about a pigeon who wants to become an eagle. I love that idea, Anthony! Marcus wrote about a zombie who had this to say about humans: “Humans are smelly, and when I say smelly, I mean it!” That’s a great line, Marcus – it made me laugh out loud. And of course, readers love to laugh.
Thanks to librarian Ms. Hausen for arranging my visits to Birchwood. Thanks to the teachers for sharing your wonderful students with me. And thanks to the kids for being wonderful. Now just keep reading and writing!