Usually, when I do a blog post after a school visit, I begin by saying, "I'm just home from a visit to..." -- except today I DIDN'T LEAVE HOME. Which is a good thing since we're having a snowstorm here in Montreal and the roads are icy!
In January, in even worse weather, I drove to the Bas Cantons east of Montreal to do writing workshops at St. Francis Elementary School School. Only that day the weather was so bad (and it didn't help that I took the long road), I arrived late and missed my first workshop with the school's Grade Sixes. But luckily, I got to do my workshop with them today -- and I'd say it went well!
Here's a pic I took while I was working with the students. (I think I need to clean my computer screen!!)
It couldn't have been easy for the students to start their day paying attention to some curly-haired woman giving them writing tips, all from a computer screen. But the students were super attentive and I was happy to see them taking lots of notes. In today's pic, they are actually doing a writing exercise -- something I never tried before during a virtual visit.
One of the things we discussed was that writers need to be OBSERVANT. I made the students laugh when I pointed out a student at the second table who was TWIRLING HIS PEN. I also noticed a pair of boots near the second table. They seem to have no apparent owner. Something about those boots makes me think they have a story. We also talked about the importance of asking "What if?" to move a story forward. What if, at the end of the day, no one comes to claim those boots? How would the student to whom those boots belong get home in the snow without them? And what would those boots do after school in an abandoned classroom?
Because the sound connection wasn't perfect this morning, and because the bell rang, the students didn't have time to ask me questions. I'm hoping they'll do it here in the comments section. In which case, I can answer here too.
Special thanks to Siu-min Jim for the invite to St. Francis, and for making today's virtual visit work. And thanks to the students for being AWESOME. Remember what I told you -- those memories you came up with during today's writing exercise are STORIES ASKING TO BE TOLD. Now go and tell them. Work hard on the first draft, and even harder on your re-writing! Over and out from Monique
Hi Monique! Thank-you for your virtual visit yesterday. I just want to specify that it was Grade 6 students from St. Francis Elementary school that you met with. They braved the snow to walk up to RRHS to participate in your presentation!
Thanks to you, Siu-Min... and I made the fix. The students from St. Francis were super! Glad they made the walk!
My son's grade 5 class is reading your book Room for one More. I was wondering if you might have some time in your schedule for a school visit or a virtual visit before the end of this last semester. We are located on the south shore of Montreal.
Hi ya Shannon Choules -- busy days for a teacher-writer, but maybe someone from your son's school wants to get in touch with me to discuss the possibility of a visit. Virtual would probably be the easiest! Very exciting that the Grade Fives are reading Room For One More! Best way to reach me is by email: email@example.com