Education

Writing Workshops at my Old Elementary School!

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Last month, I had the privilege of giving writing workshops at Westpark Elementary School. I always enjoy giving workshops, but this was a particularly thrilling experience.
Why, you may ask?
Because….wait for it….
I used to attend Westpark!

That’s right, many years ago, a Goomie-bracelet-wearing (remember those??) fresh faced little Lydia spent 7 years of her life there. It was and is such a huge part of my life. So I was so excited to return and relive that part of my childhood. Here I am below in a class photo, with my “Cindy Lauper hair” and all.

The morning of my workshops, I was bursting with excitement. As I entered the school and made my way down the hall, memories came flooding in. I remembered almost everything. I remembered where the principal’s office was – Mr. Herman used to call me “princess” and give me stickers, too bad he was no longer there! I remember the gym, and chuckled when I saw they still had the same wooden ladders up on the walls from the 1980s! I even remembered where the milk fridge was. The school had of course evolved, but it was basically the same. That was somehow comforting to me. I had some seriously happy times at that school. I didn’t just learn about math and how to spell, but I also developed friendships and became who I am today.

When I made my way to the first classroom for my workshop, I shared my past with the students. They were intrigued. One student even asked me, “So how old are you anyway, like a hundred?” I had to laugh. I remember thinking, in grade 3, that age 40 was ancient.

I spent 5 days at the school and met many students. I have to say, they were all very charming and made my stay even more special. I taught my curriculum, we played games, we talked and we shared stories about our favourite books. My time at Westpark rocked! It was so special to have attended the school, and then return to teach the new generation of students years later. Look at all the smiling faces!

A special thank-you to Ms. Bakalis and the entire staff for hiring me. I hope to return again one day…

 

 

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Grade 5 Students Write a Picture Book in THREE Days!

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I love writing!

And, I love giving writing workshops. I especially love when my students get really enthusiastic about their own writing.

I recently worked with Royal Vale Elementary and I had the privilege of teaching two classes of Grade 5. Our mission? To create a complete picture in just three days. (Even I can’t do that!)

And I’m happy to say that we accomplished our goal! Here’s how it went down:

Day 1

We had an intensive first session to get the creative juices flowing. The students learned everything from character and plot development to how to write authentic dialogue. After a lot of back and forth, they also decided what the theme of the book would be.

Day 2

This workshop was the most challenging. The students first created the characters in the story. Then we all developed the plot and the structure of the story. After that, I separated the students into four groups and each group wrote a chapter of the book. There was so much to do, so we had to work fast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3

On the last day, I edited the chapters with the students. We also created the list of illustrations, which they drew out. The last task was to decide on details like dedication, and paper and font colour.

I brought everything home and after a lot of editing and layout magic, the finalized books were sent to the printer. When the students saw them, they were ecstatic! It was a wonderful reward for all their hard work.

Check out their final books Immigration to the States and The Condimental Worlds.

Love & Light,

Lydia

Hilarious Things Kids Say

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It’s no secret, kids have NO filter.

Like it or not, they say what’s on their mind. Throughout my years visiting elementary schools to give workshops, they’ve said many hilarious (and sometimes verging on offensive if you have no sense of humor) things to me.

Here are the 5 funniest questions my students have asked me this year:

  1. “So, as an author, do you make as much money as you would working at McDonald’s?”

It’s fascinating to see how students perceive authors! They know the J.K. Rowlings of the world make millions, but they also know this is not the norm. I was trying to explain the varying wages authors make but the thing is, we spend many days slaving away at the computer and don’t see a penny. Read the rest of this entry »

Grade 5 Students Become Authors

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I love writing!

And, I love giving writing workshops. Especially when my students get really enthusiastic about their own writing!

I recently worked with two schools: Royal Vale Elementary and Edinburgh School. I had the privilege of teaching four classes of Grade 5, and our mission as to create a complete picture in just three days. I’m happy to say that we accomplished our goal! Here’s how it went down:

Day 1

We had an intensive first session to get the creative juices flowing. The students learned everything from character and plot development to how to write authentic dialogue. After a lot of back and forth, they also decided what the theme of the book would be.

Read the rest of this entry »

Grade 6 Rocks!!

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I love writing for children, especially the younger ones. My sweet spot is ages 5-7.

I also love giving writing workshops. I’m passionate about sharing my passion and encouraging literacy.

Side note: kids are hilarious. Seriously.

Every time I’m in a school, I bring a notepad and pen and sometimes take notes on the funny things they say. Kids are like little comedians. They’re not necessarily trying to be funny, but they just are.

I give workshops in elementary schools, so I deal with students aged 5-12. Now, when I walk into a grade 6 workshop, I honestly never know what to expect. Grade 6 students are not so innocent anymore. They’re branching off on their own and starting to truly find themselves. And I respect that. They’re on the verge of turning into teenagers and young adults. It’s another world!

But when I walked into Ms. White’s grade 6 class at Sherbrooke Academy, I was blown away by the students. They were friendly, bubbly, and bright. They participated in the workshop and we had a blast.

Sometimes, the energies align and magic happens. There are times where I feel I’m truly connecting to the students, and they’re receiving with open arms. Those are special moments. I appreciate them because they don’t happen every day.

That was one of the funnest workshops I’ve hosted this year. So thank-you Ms. White, and thank-you to each student who helped brighten my day!!

Why I LOVE Working with Children!

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I love being a writer.

It rocks.

But sometimes, writing can be an isolating experience. One of the reasons I love giving workshops is because I get to interact with children of all ages. And let me tell you, that is a truly enriching experience! Even though I’m there to teach them about building narratives and developing characters, I end up learning a thing or two after each workshop.

Here are the top 5 reasons I love working with children:

  1. Children are hilarious!

I often write down the things they say because the statements can be incredibly funny. Even when they’re not trying to be funny, they’re funny. When I walk into a school, I like to have a notepad and pen handy at all times.

Read the rest of this entry »

How Grade 5 Students Created a Picture Book in Three Days!

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I’ve been dying to give writing workshops at Royal Vale Elementary for years now. I keep hearing about how outstanding the school is, and how the parents camp out for days during the registration period. After a few years of trying to entice the administration, I was ecstatic to be invited to their school!

I had the privilege of meeting and working with Miss. Wendy’s two grade 5 classes.

Our mission? To create a picture book, complete with developed characters, a plot, polished text, and illustrations in just THREE DAYS! Actually, it wasn’t even three days, it was three workshop of two hours each. And I worked with two classes, so the mission was to create two books. We had our work cut out for us…

I’m happy to say that we accomplished our goal! Here’s how it went down: Read the rest of this entry »