Michigan has two parts to it. There’s the lower part that looks like a mitten, and then there’s the U.P. (That stands for Upper Peninsula, eh?)
I spent the last week of October in Michigan’s wonderful Upper Peninsula…working. Did I mention that I love my work? Let me tell you a little more.
First of all, let me be clear. California and North Carolina are two of the most beautiful places ever. Ever. But there is definitely a third place on my list now. This trip marked the first time that I had ever been to the U.P. in the fall. (I’ve been there in summer and winter…spring is next!) All I can say is WOW!
I know…I’m a writer. I should be able to paint pictures with my words, right? But WOW!
The U.P. is always a magical place and this time—in the fall—with the brightly colored leaves (cranberry red, pumpkin orange, goldenrod yellow), the white bark of the aspens, the green conifers, and the blue, blue lakes…WOW! (I’ll put a picture up for you, but it doesn’t even begin to match the real thing.)
But back to work. I didn’t go to the U.P to see the leaves, I was there because the Copper Country Reading Council asked me to come up and talk to some of the third graders there about writing and also to help them work on writing some of their own stories or narratives about places that are special to them. I call them “placescapes.”
So, I spent time at Houghton Elementary School in Houghton, Michigan (thanks, Miss Johnson, Mrs. Ronis, Mrs. Grego, and Mr. Demske for letting me visit in your classrooms), and at CLK Elementary School in Calumet, Michigan (thanks, Mrs. Burkhart, Mrs. Bastian, Mrs. Anttila, and Mrs. Lancour, for letting me visit your classrooms).
I had such fun with the students, who all seemed very excited about writing about places they knew. I was able to visit each classroom twice, and on my second visit, the students read to me! What a treat!
I brought their stories home with me so I could read them all and maybe give them a little advice or encouragement. Maybe I’ll share some of their best sentences in with you in the future and see if their words paint a picture for you.
In the meantime, I hope you take a moment to enjoy the secrets that fall brings!