I had a fantastic time at my Writers in the Schools visit to Windsor Elementary School yesterday. Rather than visit a lot of classes, the school took the unusual step of scheduling me to spend the whole day with the grade 3/4 class. This had me a little nervous. I wasn't sure if I could keep a classroom of kids ages 8, 9 and 10 interested in lessons on writing for the entire day. I needn't have worried. This was the most engaged, enthusiastic group of learners I'd ever met, and both their teacher and school deserve high praise.
To prepare, I went to the Curriculum Resource Centre at Mount Saint Vincent University. Because I am not in the education faculty I don't have privileges to check out materials, but the wonderful librarian on duty let me browse the extensive selection of books and spend as much time as I wanted making notes. I came up with a new selection of exercises I have named:
1. Pick the postcard
2. Building blocks of writing
3. Show don't tell
4. The lost suitcase
5. I am Canadian
6. Observe your environment.
All of the exercises aim to help writing students add more description, insights and reason into their writing. These details enrich the writing and reading experience. If you want information on any of the exercises, please contact me.
I also spent a lot of time with the 3/4 class talking about how to overcome writers' block. I explained that I like to begin by jotting down notes about something I observe. Then I take it a step further and think about not only what I'm looking at, but at what it might become. I explained the inspiration behind my new book, Lunar Lifter. I read two excerpts from the book and gained a few fans. Some even wrote me thank-you notes (above). These children lifted my spirits more than I can say and reminded me why I wrote this book. It may not bring me wealth, but the experience of sharing it with children has without doubt enriched my soul.
I was flipping through the books section of The Novascotian newspaper today and was delighted to discover Lunar Lifter was the third best-selling Halifax book at the Bayers Lake Chapters/Indigo store this week. Onwards and upwards, I hope! Thanks to those everyone who has bought and read the book. I am delighted.