Having worked on the periphery of education for many years, I tend to view time in terms of school years almost as much as calendar years. As I think back over the past year, I realize that some of my most pleasant times were spent in classrooms working with children.
During the past school year, I had the opportunity to visit a number of schools, sharing my writing with students from kindergarten through eighth grade and working to get them excited about their own writing. I have many fond memories of these visits, but here are a few highlights.
In March, I visited Rupert Elementary School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. I grew up in Pottstown, and that’s where my dreams of being a writer were first formed. It’s always a thrill to be able to share my work with the town’s next generation of young writers. I really enjoying seeing their eyes light up when I told them about my first attempt to write a book in second grade and that I have since gone on to publish 50 titles. I encouraged them to follow their own dreams, for who knows what may happen?
This spring I made my annual visit to work with second- and third-grade students at Newark Charter School. I worked with the second graders on poetry and with the third graders on persuasive writing. I am always amazed by how much these young writers already know about the writing process and how enthusiastic they are. I also did a poetry workshop with 6th through 8th grade students at Mount Aviat Academy, and it was fun to see some of the sophisticated poems they created. These students also sent me a package of “Thank You” poems that showed how they were putting what they had learned into practice.
Last December, I worked with 6th graders at Oldham School District in New Jersey on persuasive writing. They were arguing that we should do away with plastic straws. They impressed me with their passion and with some of the interesting facts they found to support their position.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, on February 1st I worked with United Way to help students at Bancroft Elementary School celebrate World Read Aloud Day. Throughout the year, I also took part in Reading Nights, Poetry Week events, and other celebrations of books and reading. In every case, I found myself impressed by the students and teachers I interacted with.
Like students and teachers, I will take time off from school over the summer and concentrate on some book projects I want to finish. But when the school doors open again in the fall, I look forward to scheduling more school visits and sharing the love of writing with more students!