Hello, hello! I'm just back from a very energizing visit to Orchard Elementary School, where I worked with students who are a little younger than the ones I am used to. Before lunch, I met with a group of grades one and two students; after lunch, I worked with students in grades three and four. It was FUN! One thing about younger students is they don't feel the same pressures about writingthat older kids sometimes do. Many of the Orchard students told me they ENJOY writing.
Lexus, who's seven, said, "When I'm in the mood, I write after school." Meghan, who's also seven, likes to write stories about her cat. Jayden, who's eight, said, "When I'm happy or sad, I write in a book."
Because I had about an hour with each group, I tried to focus on some important writing concepts like REsearching and REwriting. I also talked about looking and listening for stories. I think these are points that can be useful to aspiring writers of any age, no matter whether they are in grade one or living in seniors' residences!
Grade Two teacher Marie-Therese Ferdinand said she enjoyed my talk, too! She said I confirmed a lot of what she believes about teaching reading and writing. For instance, she begins every day by asking her students to write! (Way to go, Madame Ferdinand!) Like me, Madame Ferdinand is also interested in body language. She, too, likes her students to look alert!
Today's visit was organized by Orchard Elementary librarian Wendy Corner. Wendy and I had met more than a decade ago when she was one of my students at Concordia University! So seeing Wendy again, and talking about books, added to today's fun. "Miss Wendy" (as the students call her) told me the library at Orchard is a special place. The library used to be upstairs, but it needed to be relocated because of a leaky roof. "This library was built with a lot of love and care," Miss Wendy told me.
Students in the afternoon group presented me with some beautiful posters and a great thank-you card signed by all the students in the school! Three students, Heavenleigh (great name, no?!), aged ten; Sahvana, aged eleven; and Janessa, also eleven, dropped by to meet me before my talk, and stayed afterwards to ask more questions. You can check them out in one of the pictures below. (They're the three girls behind a welcome sign they prepared. Heavenleigh is standing in front; Sahvana is peeking out from behind the sign; and Janessa is looking out from on top of it.) The group picture is of the Grades Ones and Two-s. That's Miss Corner in the back. Many students remarked that we look like we are related. Must be the curly hair and our shared love for books!!