We've had snow today in Montreal, so it was actually a perfect day for a Zoom visit -- otherwise, I'd have been nervous making the drive to St. Lazare to work with students at Forest Hill Senior Elementary School. This was my last of four visits there, and though the visits were virtual, I am starting to feel like I belong at FHSES!
In today's pic, you see the last group I worked with -- Ms. Lindsey's Grade Sixes. When I asked if they had paper for taking notes, they waved their sheets in response! Which made me laugh -- and also made me reach for my camera so I could capture the moment for you, dear blog reader!
I started the day with Ms. Black's Grade Fives. Two students were participating from home -- Mia and Bella. I was impressed by this pair because they were ready with pen and paper. The other students were in Ms. Black's classroom -- they had to go and grab writing supplies. It's the first time I saw a class with Christmas lights, and when I asked about the decorations, I learned they are what Ms. Black described as "permanent fixtures." I'm all for bright lights -- especially this time of year, and especially this year!
Something that made me laugh in that class was that every time I introduced a new writing tip, say Tip #2, a student would flash the appropriate number of fingers in front of the screen. That turned out to be Luca, whom I credited for "special effects."
My second group was Madame Jessica's Grade Five class. Here, I met a student named Sidney who has an interesting story that he gave me permission to share in today's blog. Sidney was attending class from home -- that's because someone on his bus tested positive for COVID-19. I asked Sidney if he was feeling nervous, but he told me, "I'm not nervous. I feel good. And it's comfortable at home." I learned more about Sidney when I heard a dog barking (which prompted me to ask, "Is that a dog or a relative?"). That's how we all got to meet Baloo, Sidney's toy poodle. If you've been reading my blog lately, you'll know I am getting more and more interested in pandemic stories. Sidney, I think you should write yours -- about a boy who has to stay home while his classmates are at school, and don't forget to give your character a dog!
I was telling the class how my mum, who survived the Holocaust, always said there was only one thing the Nazis could not take away from the people who, like her, were imprisoned in concentration camps. I gave the students a moment to guess the thing my mom was talking about. No one ever figures out the answer -- but a student named Jacob got it. He called out, "Hope!"
I'll end today's blog with my favourite question of the day. A student named Beatrice wanted to know, "Do you write your characters before you write your books?" Beatrice, this was a sophisticated question for a student in Grade Five. My answer is that I usually get to know my characters WHILE i'm wriitng my books, but I think it's a better idea to know your characters in advance. So maybe, Beatrice, I will let your question guide me when I start my next book -- hopefully next week!
Special thank to librarian Ms. Hausen for arranging all my visit to FHSES; thanks to the teachers Ms. Black, Madame Jessica and Ms. Lindsey, for sharing your students with me today, and for being so brave in your classrooms. And thanks to the students for a wonderful grand finale to this season's visits to your school! Now go write!!