Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Pull of Gravity Goes to School(s): #6

So, a new school year is well underway

(of course, interrupted here in NY by the unprecedented insanity of Hurricane Sandy. . . ).

I planned to bring this feature back the beginning of this month, but you know what they say about the best laid plans:

Gang aft agley. ;)

They do. They say that gang aft agely
thingy in here...
oh, and, btw, my shiny new paperback cover
out in pb on 2/5/13!

At any rate, back in late September, I had the great pleasure of visiting the students at the Upper Dauphin Area High School in Elizabethville, PA.

This is her, the incomparable
Mrs. Minnich. :)
Cindy Minnich, teacher extraordinaire,
Nerdy Book Club facilitator,
and highly-persuasive human being convinced me to
hop on a train and travel all day to her pretty little town in PA
for an overnight stay and all-day school visit
with her classes ranging from 9th grade honors (who had read both Of Mice and Men and The Pull of Gravity) to her seniors who were in the throes of writing college essays, and who participated in some writing exercises with me.

All in all, I think I sat in on 5 or 6 classes, and it was hard to even form words by the end of the day.

HERE IS a slide show of my visit with UDA HS!

(don't be fooled by the bored looking kids in the beginning photos *coughs*... that was first period and it was early, but I promise you they may have been sleepy, but they were smart, charming and ON!)

It was an incredibly rewarding day for me, only surpassed by the following week when a box of thank you letters arrived from the students (and ninjas and comedians, all... ;)).

Below, are just a few highlights from their notes.

"When you talked to us about how writers don't like their first drafts it makes me feel better about my writing. Thats because I always hate my writing so then I'll stop. . . You have made me feel better about my writing. . ."
"My writing will not be 'showing' and not just 'telling.'
"... I thank you for giving us an opportunity to free-write and practice the technique you have shared with us. . ."
"I was proud of the five minute writing assignment you had us participate in and I plan on finishing my story."
". . . I love Jaycee. She reminds me a lot of my best friend and she makes the story more fun. . . it definitely makes my favorite book list."
"The trolls and wax lips were a great idea because it was related to the book. . . P.s. I'm a ninja." "Why you chose Of Mice and Men, Fat Man Walking, information on Progeria, and emotions from experiences you have as a divorce attorney added depth and made the book more realistic and relatable." "You reminded me that I should never give up, even if someone else doesn't think I can accomplish my goal."
"At one point, you brought up the feeling of indifference or even inferiority in looking back at your work. Being a musician and painter, this concept has caused a spark of optimism."
"I have been trying to 'find my planet' since you said it. I'm meeting and talking to others and just exploring the high school. . ."
"Thanks for being awesome. . . it was a whole bunch of fun talking about The Pull of Gravity (AKA my new favorite - amazing book). . . Plus, I already love reading, so your visit made me love it more! P.S. 'No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!' (Mrs. Minnich let us watch Monty Python)." **
"Congratulations! You might be confused why I am congratulating you. It's because your presentation was actually a more-interesting-than-average presentation!"
"Just you being here was great, as a bonus we didn't have to do any work."
"The book was great. Its plot was amazing. I loved the end of the book. I wanted to reread it."
"I also want to thank you for telling us that everyone pretty much thinks their first drafts are 'crap.' It makes me feel a lot better about my writing because now I know even published writers hate things they write."
"You really let me understand that I have better potential than what I thought I had. I've always thought I sucked because I judged myself on my first draft. Now I know not to do that and I can be a better writer because of you."
Thanks so much to Upper Dauphin Area High School for having me and for my awesome letters!

Come on, I mean, how can I not give them brownie points?! :)

Here you go. Have some brownies. No nuts.

 - gae
** who doesn't love a teacher who lets her kids watch Monty Python?! ;)
p.s. If you're thinking about using The Pull of Gravity in your classroom, here's a LINK to the TEACHERS GUIDE. Please email me so we may connect and plan a Skype or in-person visit.
p.p.s. if you use The Pull of Gravity in your classroom and want to be part of this series, please email me at g.polisner@gmail.com
For other posts in this series, click on the links below: 

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