Stories, Fables and Fun at Ecole LaVerendrye

Ecole LaVerendrye was where I had my final residency for the 2013-2014 school year – but it felt just as exciting as the first!

I was immediately welcomed into this warm, friendly school by enthusiastic students and teachers. The first thing that struck me was your questions – about the writing process, about my books, about me (blush!). You were so curious and eager to learn. I couldn’t get over how many of you had stories to share about your own ongoing projects and explorations, whether they be in science, technology, sports or the arts. Many of you told me that your parents, family-members and friends are writers, musicians, dancers, visual artists, poets, and more. How exciting and wonderful to be in a place where the arts and all kinds of learning are so very much alive. I felt inspired each and every day at this sparkling school that crackled with character!

In Week 1 with the Grades 4s, 5, and 6s, we plunged into the process of writing short stories. I loved how everyone found a way to connect their writing to something personal to make the process meaningful. That’s the secret, isn’t it? We may not all feel drawn to write at first – but when you view creative writing as a chance to express something important to you (friendship, family, the challenge of sports, world events, the magic of a fantasy world) and a chance to use (or discover!) your own unique voice (funny, poignant, mysterious, dramatic…) – well, let’s just say you’re on to something special. ‘Way to go’ on finding your own original voices, and for collaborating so well when it came to giving and receiving feedback (some of you even collaborated on writing your stories – with impressive results!)

In Week 2 with the Grade 1s, 2s, and 3s we became ‘fabulous fabulists’, creating our own original fables. First, we had to learn what an animal fable was, and I loved how we were able to do this together; by reading, listening, and discussing fables. This is the way writers learn how to write particular kinds of stories, through lots and lots of reading, thinking and observing. In a very short time, you became experts on the different features commonly found in Animal Fables. Then, you applied your scientific knowledge of creatures and critters and lovely landscapes to shape original fables of your own. Some of you chose to put a spin on Aesop’s fables to bring them into the 21st century. I enjoyed how many of you decided to keep the fable’s lesson, but then added a moment where your two creatures – who may have been in conflict throughout the story – became friends (there were even some animals having lavish disco dance parties – love that! 😉 ).

Thank you to students, teachers and staff for making my final residency of the school year just as fresh and fun as the first. I enjoyed meeting all of you and the chance to get creative together. Have a wonderful rest of the year – till we meet again!

Karin 🙂