In 8th grade, March is a huge study of Women’s History. In Literature, the girls…
Today, local author Jen Bryant, visited Villa Maria Academy. Bryant is the author of more than 31 books including “The Trial”and “Kaleidoscope Eyes.” She spoke to middle school students about her books, her passion for writing, what inspires her, her research and her curiosity for human behavior.
Bryant offered a fascinating large-group presentation to the middle school and three wonderful small-group writing workshops for the seventh graders and had them do a writing activity and gave them tips on their writing.
While the topics of Bryant’s books are varied, she spent time explaining her research process for several of her works and told the girls when thinking of the setting for her stories, “I try to pay attention to places that speak to me.” She then explained her research process and the true story of the Lindbergh trial which was the basis for her book, The Trial, for which she has a personal connection.
Both students and teachers were captivated by her and intrigued about her experiences through her writing process.
During her writing workshops for the seventh grade students, she had them do a creative writing activity using setting or place to create the plot and characters in their story. She asked them to think about three places they had been recently and write down sensory details about that memory (what they heard, saw, smelled, touched, or tasted). She then had them choose their most detailed one and begin to write a story. She had some girls read them aloud, and she gave them pointers (as well as their classmates) on how they could make their story better from an editors point-of-view. The girls had so much fun. She encouraged the girls to practice their writing skills by journaling, reading, and learning focus on what they know when they write.
She also brought samples of letters from her editor and early writing an editing samples of her book, “The Right Word” for the girls in the workshops to see the process she goes through before having the final piece complete. And she recently received copies of “The Right Word” in Spanish and Chinese, and brought those for the girls to see as well.
We were honored to have Ms. Bryant speak to our girls and share her experiences with them! A huge thank you to Ms. Bryant, Mrs. Lentz and Senora Maria for all their preparations and for a wonderful day of learning!