You may be wondering why, in today's pic, a class of Grade Five students are waving sheets of paper at me! It's because I was doing virtual class visits at Mount Pleasant Elementary School in Hudson, and I wanted to know whether the kids had paper for taking notes. To answer my question, they waved their sheets at me -- and I must admit that cracked me up!
My day started with Ms. Malone's Grade Six class. Actually it started with a gentleman at the other end of the computer, trying to figure out how to get the audio working on Ms. Malone's whiteboard. I asked the gentleman whether he was the school's "computer guy" and he answered, "I'm the caretaker, the computer guy and I wipe noses sometimes." A few minutes later, he added, "I'm also the principal!" So that's how I met Mr. Massarelli, Mount Pleasant's principal. As I told him, and the students, Mr. Massarelli would make a great character for a book. I have met a lot of prinicpals, and my favourite all have a good sense of humour!
My chance meeting with Mr. Massarelli let me teach the students something important about being a fiction writer -- we steal stuff! By that, I do not mean going to the store and stealing a chocolate bar. That is wrong, and punishable by law. I mean stealing characters, their traits, and even their jokes for your stories. A nicer word than stealing is borrowing -- also we can't get sent to jail for borrowing, can we?
I also worked with Ms. Martel's Grade Sixes, and Mr. Klein and Ms. Kennedy's Grade Fives. I told one of the groups (sorry, I can't remember which one!), to PAY ATTENTION TO THE WORLD AROUND YOU. If you do, you will always have something interesting to write about!
A funny thing happened when I was talking about the importance of rewriting. I was telling the students, "Don't hand in your first draft to Ms. Malone" when I heard Ms. Malone say in the background, "I love you!" That made me laugh too (and also feel happy).
One of Ms. Martel's students Adelaide (great name, I plan to steal, er, I mean borrow that too!) asked me, "Why did you want to become a writer?" I told her it was because I have always loved stories. I bet you can tell that from this blog entry because I even notice I am telling you stories here!
Speaking of stories, I was telling Ms. Martel's class about my meeting with Mr. Massarelli and a student named Theo told me a story. "I remember," Theo said, "I once saw Mr. Massarelli coming to work wearing a pink suit." USE THAT IN A BOOK, THEO!
I ended my day with the Grade Fives -- the ones waving paper in today's pic. I must say they made me laugh, which was just what I needed to end my workday. I asked them, "What's the first thing you need to do if you want to be a writer?" A student named Emmett called out: "Have a pencil!" (The answer I was looking for was WRITE, but Emmett's answer made sense too.)
Thanks to all the teachers -- Ms. Malone, Ms. Martel, Mr.Klein and Ms. Kennedy -- thanks of course to Mr. Massarelli, thanks to librarian Ms. Hausen -- for making today possible... and thanks especially to the students for making me happy! Hope you learned a thing or two today about writing!