Wednesday, November 22, 2017
A Day at Sir James Dunn Academy
Yesterday I traveled to St. Andrews to spend the day with students at Sir James Dunn Academy.Funny story! I wanted to give myself two hours to get there so that I would have time to eat a leisurely breakfast at Tim Hortons in St. Andrews then find the school and get settled before my 8:35 presentation. So I went to bed early the night before setting my alarm clock for 5:30. I got right up, got dressed and ready to go. I went out in the cold and started my vehicle and sat for a few minutes waiting for my delightful seat warmer to kick in. I glanced at the dash and was surprised to see it said 4:55. I checked my watch and realized I was one hour too early. Somehow the time on my bedside table clock had been wrong and my 5:30 wake up had really been 4:30. Back to bed I went but of course I did not fall asleep. I got up at 5:30 and did round two, departing at 5:55. Good travels got me to Tim Horton's with lots of time. And so my day began. My first presentation was to was a great group of grade sevens.I kicked into gear and did my thing and the kids responded generously. A couple of their questions were. " Have you started your next book?" Are your earrings books?" Next I welcomed a group of grade 6 and grade 8 students. They were a bit more animated having woken up and I revved up and delivered a similar presentation. It always does surprise me how each one does take on a flavor of its own. Good thing because Mr. Carey sat in on almost every one of them.Some questions from that crowd were:"What was the favorite part of the first book you wrote?"Do you remember everything you wrote?" I then had a nice long break. A nap would have been nice but I wrote in my 'WRITE'journal and had tea and birthday cake visiting with several friendly staff members Then Mrs. Norman and I enjoyed a meal prepared by the culinary arts students. In the afternoon I presented to a grade nine class first. They were delightful. I made a point of learning all their names first thing and was able to interact with them for a lively and rewarding hour.The kids made random reading requests and I read at least one passage from each of my six books. Jacob asked me to read the Taylor Anne Reading Challenge and I had the kids stand if they had read the book or had it read to them as I went down the list . I was pleased to see that some of my favorites are still being read. Hats off to whoever read 'There's a Girl in the Boy's Bathroom ' to those St. Andrew's kids.After the grade nines took their collective energy out of the room the Grade tens came in. Again I quickly learned their names and gave my all to the hour we had together. Marshall ( can't remember if he was Gr. 9 or 10,sorry Marshall ) was writing pretty much the whole time I talked. I was so pleased he was actually processing my words. I got a kick out of the fact that he wrote that as I talked I branched out in all directions but usually came back to where I started. I do certainly do that and I sometimes wonder if it exhausts the kids as much as it exhausts me. But the kids are always kind and respectful. I looked out at this amazing bunch of kids as they sat taking in every word and responding to my story. Oh I love those magic moments and that is why I take myself away from my warm comfortable home and away from my desk on a writing day to share the gift that writing is for me. Thank you so much Mrs. Norman for inviting me and thank you each and every student and staff member that made me feel so welcome at Sir James Dunn Academy on a sunny November day in beautiful St. Andrews. The widow of Sir James Dunn gifted the town this impressive building and the generations that have filled its halls have and continue to bring that gift to life.