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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Book Clubbers

Okay, they're the same students. Book Club and Writers' Club - they overlap, although the Year 7 girls don't turn up to the latter. They did come on the Book Club excursion. Last week in Book Club, we had a lively argument, everyone talking at once, about which was better - Twilight or Harry Potter? Nobody wanted to wait for anyone else to finish and in the end I let them just do it as they pleased.

This week, Dylan read the latest instalment of his epic "Three Brothers" series to the gathered group. I asked Ryan for the file of his Japanese martial arts story, which he says he's finished, so I could print it out and we can discuss it next time, but we became a little distracted by various things. I will have to ask again.

We all stood at the computer, where Thando explained about, an on-line writers' community to which she belongs. We couldn't get a Word copy of the story - I think it's a web site security issue to protect the writers - so we printed it off and Thando read some of it to us. It's about a girl who lives on Venus and has been admiring an Earth boy from afar. Willis did discuss with her the scientific issues about Venus as a planet. I suggested she just get on with it, so the story is written, then go back and check out her research facts for the purposes of correction; I believe that one should write while ideas are flowing, THEN do the research and re-write - unless, of course, you're doing some reading and get the ideas from that. I think I vaguely recall Robert Silverberg saying at Aussiecon 3 that this is how he works, that he'd never get anything done if he stopped to do all the research first.

So no, I wasn't going to tell Thando that Venus might be a bit hostile to life. Not yet, anyway. I just suggested that she look it up later. The story so far is charming. I'd hate for that to stop.

I think it's well worth giving up one lunchbreak a week to be with these delightful students and give them space for their writing and reading.


Tina said...

Hi Sue! I'm Tina, a teen book blogger who got redirected to your blog from Romy's (Lost In Stories). (She's absolutely amazing and I love her blog.)

I'm so excited for you for your novel, especially since you're a Melbournian teacher-turned-author, and I'm a Melbournian student fascinated by stories and the people behind them.

On the subject of school and especially in regards to your great post, my school used to have a book club too. I loved it, because my school librarian would recommend some really great books to us; through the book club, I was introduced to books in poetry form, and other books I usually wouldn't read, so the club helped broaden my perspective.

The next year, only two students (myself ncluded) turned up at the first meeting, and somehow we didn't have another one since. It is such a shame, because I really enjoyed book club.

So I think it's absolutely wonderful that you've taken out personal time from your lunches to share the joy of reading and writing with your students. It's teachers like you who inspire kids like us. I know that I really appreciate the teachers at my school who do that for us.

I'm saying this somewhat sheepishly (and through the shield that is the Internet), but through teachers sharing hobbies such as reading, I feel as if it brings us closer, not only as teachers and students, but as inspirers and learners.

So I'll conclude my overly long comment with a thanks. Thank you for being a wonderful teacher who I'm sure inspires her students and provide them with the knowledge that you care about them. Thank you for taking time out every week to host your book/writers club for students. And thank you for writing that last paragraph, it truly brought a smile to my day.


Sue Bursztynski said...

Tina, thansk so much for your wonderful comment! Your librarian sounds terrific. It's a shame you didn't get a follow-up the next year, but you know, this is the first year I've had enough students to make it worth my while, though I did have a tiny writing club last year. Then suddenly, there was a large bunch of students who love their reading and who also write and it happened. What will happen next year? I don't know. Our two Year 10 students are going to Senior campus. The Year 8s will probably hang on and maybe the Year 7s. We'll have to see.

I'm sure your librarian will have another go and that meanwhile she has been continuing to help you choose books when you turn up in the library. And if she's anything like me, I bet she corners you with a "Have I got a book for you!"

I think it's great that you're blogging too - one of my students does - a Book Club member, in fact - but does a general blog, not a book one. Maybe next year I can persuade him...

Dylan Cohen said...

Yeah! Last weeks book club was pretty insane. Every one arguing what was better 'Harry Potter' or 'Twilight Saga'. We also did rush to see Thando's awesome discovery of 'INK POP"- a writers community on the internet. Discussed each others stories. It was a very crazy and awesome writers club meeting. I am a proud member and i will never give up on my stories even with bad feedback. I will just use it to make my stories better.
Oh, Ms B, did you know Selena and i have started writing a short story together. well, we haven't wrote it yet, but we have planned most of the characters description and what happens, so where half way done.

Dylan Cohen- Proud student of Book & Writers Clubs

Sue Bursztynski said...

That's so great, Dylan! Nice to hear Selena is writing now. If it's as good as her essays it will be fabulous! You missed this week's meeting because of going for your bike, so you didn't hear Ryan's story. It was all full of Japanese words and martial arts stuff. Read it if you can.

Did you notice Tina's comment? Her school used to have a Book Club too - I hope it will have another one next year.

Dylan Cohen said...

Yeah, I'm so sad that i didn't hear Kayla's story. I'm not sad about Ryan's because i have already read it and yes, i am excited too about Selena's and I creativity together for the story where writing!