The Fabulous Fabulists of EMU!

In some ways, when I spend time at Ecole Margaret-Underhill, I feel as though I am going back in time in my own life. I loved Grade 3 and 4 at my French Immersion school. The French milieu of EMU takes me back…and makes me determined to practice my francais!

This year at EMU, I was ‘going back in time’ in another sense by re-visiting the school where I had my first Artists in the Schools residency. I was immediately welcomed by the familiar faces of teachers, students, and staff. I knew instantly that my time here would be just as fun, creative and magical as last year.

I was really excited to pilot a new program at EMU – writing original animal fables! I knew that the creative, enthusiastic teachers would run with the idea (thank you!). I was so proud of all the Grade 3’s and 4’s for embracing this project: combining research and imagination in developing your animal characters, studying the genre by reading many fables both together and individually, and then coming up with wonderfully creative story lines or putting a clever twist on Aesop’s thousands-of-years-old plots. Your fables were funny, touching, smart, and sparkled with life! And that was just in our FIRST week together…

In Week 2, we tried something else that I’d never tried before – the FABLE NEWS NETWORK, otherwise known as THE FABLE FREE PRESS. You took your fable characters and stories and created hilarious ‘spoof’ news items: classified ads, movie reviews, ‘Dear Wise Old Owl’ (I am STILL laughing about those, you guys!), Animal-Lympics sports reports. Some of you even took it further with local news stories, fashions reports, and more – all set in the story world of fables. We even made original crossword puzzles – you wrote the clues, then had fun solving the puzzles by filling in the blanks with all of your classmates’ animals. This was a such a terrifically fun week for me, and hope it was for you, too!

My post wouldn’t be complete without listing a few more highlights, such as reading to the school in the gym during EMU’s I Love To Read week, along with the very funny radio D.J., Lloyd the Intern. There was also the fantastic brainstorming done in each and every class – your work on coming up with ‘animal movements’ verbs was out-of-this-world and must break some sort of record somewhere!

Some of you even continued brainstorming on your own! (There really is a whole world of words out there – or, shall I say – UNIVERSE of words!). Remember how many times I had to erase the board so that we had room for your NEXT set of words. WHEW!

Thank you all for another year of memories, and for the gorgeous gift you presented to me at the end of our time together – it means so much to me to have a keepsake from each one of you. I wish each and every one of you the best as you continue your journey of reading and writing, and all kinds of learning and adventures.

All the best and till we meet again!

Karin 🙂