On Wednesday, December 5th, author Gordon Korman visited Chatham Middle School and spoke about his writing career and the more than 90 books he’s written for middle school-aged kids. Students at CMS recently participated in projects that included lunch-time book talks and a school-wide read of Korman’s book about bullying, Restart. After speaking to the entire school, Korman signed books and held writing workshops.
Korman talked about how his career developed. He wrote his first novel when he was in the seventh grade. He said that everything you decide to pursue in your writing career should be decided by you. Whenever he is stuck and not sure where to take his writing, he thinks about situations with the question “What if?” Whenever he has writer’s block or is at a loss for what to write about, he tries to relate some sort of story or plot line into his life. He takes what he is experiencing and he changes it to make an intriguing story that teenagers would like to read.
About the writing workshops, eighth grader Eudora Brennan said, “I had a completely different outlook on creative writing. Writing has never been my forte, and I have never really shown interest in it. As I sat there listening to him speak about how he became an author, I learned that you don’t have to be the most creative, or the most intelligent.”
With principal Michael Burns’ support, school librarian Donna Eager made it possible to provide a book for every student in the middle school. Those books will now be part of a book exchange program with Algonquin Middle School in Averill Park. “This was an invaluable experience for our students to meet and work with such a successful writer and author,” said Mrs. Debye-Saxinger, 7th grade English Language Arts teacher, who sought and was awarded a grant from the Chatham Education Foundation of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation to support this program.