Well, our first overseas adventure for this school year is in the books. Thanks to the International School of Kuala Lumpur and the Hong Kong International School - (more on HKIS later).
It's not very often we arrive at a school library our first day to survey damage done by a civet cat that dropped through the ceiling tiles and ran amok amongst the stacks of books - but that is how our week in the Malaysian capital started.
Now things certainly got better from there - of course that all depends on one's perspective the fact that a wild animal was running around the library before we got there is a positive in my book. Jason, the middle school librarian, told me during a fire drill, while we were hanging out in the parking lot waiting for the all clear, about the time a particularly heavy rain washed a twelve foot long python into the grounds from the forest adjacent to the school.
Well our visit didn't include any other run ins with wildlife excluding of course - middle and high schoolers - who were squeezed with the deft of a serpentine constrictor into our schedule by high school librarian extraordinaire, Nancy Woodward. Sara and I managed to see just about every student in the upper school during our visit. We ran some writing clinics - that's the new nomenclature we're using for our workshops. We work on specific skills similar to the way one would work on a particular aspect of a sport in preparation for a real game. Just as one might spend an afternoon honing their putting in preparation for playing golf or repeating corner kick after corner kick with the hope of scoring a world cup goal someday - we may be working on imagery, metaphor, summation, story structure, characterization etc.This way our lessons can be plugged into any writing curriculum that is already in place or provide some insight to students who may not be benefiting from a formal writing instruction. Sara and I believe that one can better decipher the strategies used in literature read once one has practiced these same strategies in their own writing.
Nancy scheduled an evening performance for students and parents which included interpretive dance to some of Sara's work - a chamber orchestra, an a capella choir, and a very talented singer songwriter from the 11th grade along with Sara and me performing some of our pieces.
And to top everything off - the school put us up in an absolutely luxurious hotel suite - in fact when we walked in Sara said, "Oh, this can't be for us!" it was that nice.