The day started with me down at the Carol Inn’s restaurant looking at the menu. There was something called Toutons, which turns out to be a type of fried dough – kind of like bannock but more fluffy which you eat with syrup or molasses. I haven’t tried it yet. I figured if I was going to be teaching all day, fried bread might not be the best thing to have in my gut right off the bat. But I have tomorrow off so I’m defiantly going to give some Labrador cuisine a go!
After breakfast I was picked up and taken to Menihek high school. I did three presentations for kids in grade eight, nine, and a drama class/writing class. The stories which came out were really funny. We used the wheel of genre to randomize our genre then made characters to fit them. There was a lot of audience participation. In one story we had a Japanese drug lord who, with the help (or perhaps hindrance) of time travel, got his hands on Godzilla which he used to destroy Labrador City. Luckily our super powered hero stepped in and using a giant pizza got Godzilla on her side and saved the day. Then she went on to rebuild Labrador City into a northern New York.
After a lightning fast lunch I was off to J.R. Smallwood middle school. I had two presentations there. The kids were younger but just as fun. We learned all about story structure and made up a couple of stories including the one about Sparkle Girl who used the power of waffles to gain control of her magic wand, which had been stolen by an evil guy from Jamaica. It all worked out in the end because our Jamaican fellow learned how to fry eggs joined up with Sparkle Girl to make a sparkle waffle restaurant together. Then there was the story of the nasty hotdog vendor, who made the hero shave puppies and not return library books on time. True evil! In the end the villain turned good and the hero and the villain went into the dog wig business. I’m glad everyone had happy endings.
Of course because I mentioned that I might bring my Red Robin action figure with me, the kids asked to see it. Some even had a picture taken with it. They were really impressed with my knowledge of teen culture too. I kept getting these looks of amazement and the statement “You know that?” Thank you Reality Is Optional kids’ writing club kids! You have made me cool.
I think the thing that makes me laugh the most is when I read the Pokémon theme song without telling them what I’m going to read. Within two lines, kids break out in grins and laughter, some even sing along. They never suspect I’ll come out with something like that as a teaching aid. But for all the crazy stories, theme songs, and cultural references, when I finish the kids have a clear understanding of how a story is put together and how they can write a story of their own.
My top three highlights of today:
1) Being told I was now a girl’s favourite person in the whole world.
2) Meeting a really awesome youth writer.
3) Turning the cutest little girl you ever saw into a master villain and then watching her own that role. It was the funniest thing ever.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I was also interviewed by one of Labrador City’s reporters. He was a really nice guy. Sadly I forget every name ever told to me, so I can’t tell you who he was. But he was so friendly, just like everyone else here.
I’m looking forward to my wander around Labrador City tomorrow. I’m planning on trying Toutons, tracking down the sushi restaurant, and finding the mall of shopping. Time to be a tourist. I promise to take lots of pictures!
Thank you to The Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Newfoundland and Labrador public libraries, The Canada Council of the Arts, and the schools for making this possible. I’m having so much fun and from what I hear, the kids are too.