Friday, November 2, 2012

Phil Bildner's Writing Camp

Forest North was thrilled to receive Texas Bluebonnet Award winning author Phil Bildner direct from Brooklyn, New York, in the library. Phil led an intensive writing camp for 4th and 5th graders in two separate sessions. These smaller sessions allowed for a lot more individual attention from our honored guest. Phil encouraged the students to read to become better writers, and suggested some of his favorite recent books. He showed his progression as a writer from his childhood.
He showed how important it is to focus on getting things right, and how editing can make a huge difference. He then gave detailed examples on how students should visualize the scenes they're writing, focusing on tiny details and exploding the moment. His characteristic energy and charisma absolutely engrossed the students, as always. Phil was a school teacher in New York before he was a writer, and it shows. He has amazing technique in working with 21st century kids. Some students chose to buy a Phil Bildner book, and got it autographed by Phil and got a photo print from Mrs. Fournier.
All 4th and 5th graders were encouraged to submit a persuasive essay outlining why they should be chosen to receive a free signed book and eat lunch with Phil himself. It took many hours of careful study to find the top 4 winners of the essay contest. These well-written persuasive essays were read by 4 judges, and the winners were Rishi from 4th grade, and Cameron, Malikai & Mackenzie, all from 5th grade.
Since his visits, 4th grade teachers have employed his techniques and exercises and have continued them with their students. They've noticed a marked increased use of vivid, sensory imagery since his visit. Thanks so much for sharing your skills with us, Phil! We learned a lot, and had a lot of fun. Phil- if you keep writing, we'll keep reading. Deal?

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