monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

3 minutes reading time (622 words)

Return Visit to Rosemere High School

Hello hello blog readers!

I'm just home from a happy morning at Rosemere High School. I've been there many times over the years, so it's one of those schools where I feel right at home. Today, I worked with Ms. Lawrence's Enriched Grade 8's (that's Ms. Lawrence next to me in today's pic). Some of them were a wee bit sleepy when I started (hello Jade!), but I witnessed them wake up before my eyes (hello again, Jade!). Also, since I had nearly three hours with the students, there was time for some writing exercises, and I'm excited that they've given me permission to share some of their excellent work in today's blog post.

Early on, I did an exercise where we PLAYED with words (that's because writing is a lot of work, but we need to play at it too). I asked the students to make lists of words that begin with the letter J. Emma came up with the word judicious. She admitted that she had forgotten its meaning, but that she had recently looked it up for a vocabulary exercise based on Lois Lowry's novel, The Giver. Emma's admission made me happy because it reminded me of my favorite kids' books ever, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Close to the beginning of the book, Alice uses the words latitude and longitude. She says she does not know what the words mean, but that they are "nice grand words to say." See? Words can be fun to say and also write with!

Things got even more interesting when I had the students write about the book they most want to read, and when I asked them to write about a memory of being ten years old. That's when I got to read some excellent stuff. Here come some excerpts!

Here's how Geneviève began the book she most wants to read: "I was taken from the world and I will never see it again." Intriguing and powerful, no?

Martino said he wishes he could read about, "A young troubled boy who finds peace in the one thing he loves: hockey." Martino, write that book! I bet there are other kids besides you who would enjoy reading it!

Tristan wrote about his memory of leaving Paris to move to Montreal: "I want to stay here with my friends." The language in that sentence is simple, but haunting. Tristan, I say add the WHAT IF? question to your story. What could your narrator do to change his fate?

Tessa also came up with a super opening line: "I would look forward to a fight." Doesn't that make you want to read more? It turned out Tessa was writing about play-fights with her brother. Her opening is a great hook to catch the reader's attention!

Aidan couldn't come up with a memory, so he wrote, "Maybe I'm just boring." What I liked about that piece was Aidan's VOICE. Also, he sits at the back of the classroom, so he's in the perfect position to be an OBSERVER, which is a good thing in a writer!!

I'll end today's blog entry with a line from Alexia's piece: "I hadn't even known I was crying until the salty tears dripped off my cheeks." Oh, I do like that -- the fact that the narrator's tears catch her by surprise... feels so beautiful and true.

So... I was invited to Rosemere High School to inspire the students. But you know what happened? They inspired me! Thanks to Ms. Lawrence for the invite. Thanks to the kids for doing such good work. You're the last class I'll visit this school year. I hope to carry your inspiration with me all summer! As for you guys, keep READING and WRITING!

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Monday, 01 March 2021

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