There is something about seeing kids writing that makes me happy. Which is why I took today's pic while a group of Grade Six students at Ecole Lajoie were working on a writing exercise this morning. I think the picture captures how much the kids were concentrating on their stories -- which also makes me happy!
I was invited to Ecole Lajoie to work with Ms. Cristina's three Grade Six English classes. It's a French school, but most of the students I met are comfortable speaking and writing in English too. How lucky they are to be growing up so bilingual!
The students in the pic were writing about a memory from when they were five years old, and seeing if they could add a little trouble (my favourite story ingredient!). Yoana wrote about being in kindergarten and getting stuck in an elevator for half-an-hour with seven other kids. Ohhh, that's good trouble for a story, Yoana! What, I wondered out loud, if one of the kids had to pee? Erlens wrote about the time he pushed his brother so hard his brother's foot hit a piece of furniture -- and started to bleed. And Cécé (hey, I'm definitely stealing your name for a book, Cécé!) wrote about walking barefoot on the beach when she lived in New Zealand -- and cutting her feet. All good story ideas!
The kids in my after-lunch group were super focused -- and hey, I often find with my own students that after lunch they're in the mood for a nap! Rayane let me share his desk, and told me which whiteboard could be erased without his teacher minding too much. And when I said that writing is like playing hockey because you need a lot of practice, a student named Arnaud called out, "Ya!" I take it Arnaud is a hockey fan. (Hopefully I've turned him into a writing fan too.)
My last group had more students, and some of the kids at the back gave me the impression they'd had it for the day! To make up for that though I had several eager young writers. Among them was a student named Gabriel who impressed me with his research skills -- that's because he'd checked out my website before today's visit, and had also gone to the school library, where he learned they have two of my books! Excellent research work, Gabriel! And then there was Clara who told me, "I write every day because I'm working on a book. Every night, I think about what I'll write the next day." Hey, I think we should all take a lesson from Clara! When I go to bed tonight, I am going to think about what I'll write tomorrow. Why don't you try that too?
Special thanks to Ms. Cristina for inviting me to Ecole Lajoie, and also to Madame Lavoie, the school principal, who popped by during one of my writing workshops to say bonjour. To my new friends at Lajoie, have a great holiday. Use some of your free time to work on stories. Don't forget some of the lessons we learned today: be snoopy! collect interesting details! add trouble! and of course, rewrite -- then rewrite and rewrite and rewrite some more! Thanks to all of you for a fun day!
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