WINGS UP! Teachers in Westfield, MA Cultivate Budding Writers

Eighty enthusiastic students peppered me with questions about the writing process last week. They were third graders at the Munger Hill Elementary School in Westfield Mass. Teacher Deb Chouinard coordinated an author visit with the rest of the third grade teaching team and I was the lucky author.

My visit coincided with Mustache Day. In a clever combination of the themes of the day, many mustachioed students raised their hands and informed me, “I mustache you a question!”

The questions were well written and demonstrated the students’ thorough grounding in the elements of a story. I was asked about the genesis of the characters and plots in The Enjella Adventure Series, how I determined point of view, if all my books had themes of social/emotional dilemmas, and are my characters based on any real people that I know?  I dubbed the afternoon “A Glimpse of Author Paradise.”

Next on the lineup of afternoon events — some theater!  My lesson curriculum, (developed with the help, long ago, of that same third grade teacher Deb Chouinard) includes a short, two act play, introducing the characters from the origin story Enjella Uprooted; A Tooth Fairy Gets a New Job. What a lively group of future thespians I had the pleasure of directing! The children jumped into their roles and after only two, quick run-throughs, started improvising and pantomiming as they presented the skit to their classmates.

After the show, the festivities continued in a first grade classroom. The first grade students were working on a computer research project, each assisted by a more worldly third grade buddy. At the conclusion of their research session, I read the joined classes What More Can A Fairy Be? The book opened the door for more questions about setting and book illustration. Then I asked my question for the class: What do you want to be when you grow up? I got great answers, among which, I was happy to hear, several students said they wanted to be writers. Right before dismissal, some of the third graders brought me their own writing. I read the beginnings of what I imagine will be some future novels!

Other students had more questions! I could answer them all day!

But my favorite question, and one some student, in every visit always asks, remains, “Are you a real Fairy?”

I may not be, but sometimes I can really feel the magic.

© Jane F. Collen June 20, 2019                                                                                                                                                                  sharing the joy of reading!


One thought on “WINGS UP! Teachers in Westfield, MA Cultivate Budding Writers

  1. Wow this post made me laugh and what a great idea. It’s ideas like these where kids really learn. Oh you lived my dream.


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