My Summer at St. George’s Book Publisher’s camp has finally ended.

Whew!

It was such a joy to work with so many great kids—and counsellors. It’s always bittersweet to end such a camp. In one way, I’m emotionally and mentally exhausted and am just relieved to be done. In another way, it feels like I’ve just been pulled from sort of magical life support, so feel, as always, a little sad.

Here’s a few photos of the kids’ work from throughout the week, to celebrate all their hard work and achievements . . .

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Yesterday I posted some photos of my students’ potions during the brewing process at the Summer at St. Georges camp I’m teaching. Here’s the photos of the potions after we distilled them into tiny vials. We tried to get a few of the essential ingredients into the final products, so that’s why you’ll see a few floating goblin eyes or bones!

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Today, I rolled up my sleeves and undertook a magic potions class with my junior crew at the Summer at St George’s Book Publisher camp. This activity is a fantastic way to talk about the five senses and to encourage interesting description in a story.

The young magic-makers have to pick from a wide selection of ingredients and then mix them together, recording their observations all the while. I have a variety of exotic ingredients to choose from, including Blood of Basalisk, Faerie Dust, Pixie Juice, Egg of Snarf, Gnome Poop, Goblin Eyes, Dragon Tears, Heart’s Desire, Mummy Dust, and Troll Snot . . . just to name a few!

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Below are some of our potions in “action.”

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This particular potion involved a healthy dose of Pixie Juice and A LOT of Faerie Dust.

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I’m not sure what exactly happened with this potion, but a sprinkling of Envy’s Curse tends to make a brew do peculiar things.

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This potion, of course, is a love potion. It feature some grains from the Heart’s Desire bottle.

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This potion is so thick that the stir-stick (the feather from a winged horse) is standing straight up in it. Unfortunately, someone spilled all the Blood of Baskalisk . . . so that’s the dark river you see winding its way across the table cloth in the background.

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I believe that’s a Snarf Egg sinking to the bottom of this inky potion.

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It’s not cream soda . . . this potion is mostly Mummy Dust and Blood of Baskalisk.

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I’m not sure how this student managed to get neon blue . . . but it’s a very pretty potion.

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That’s a Goblin Eye floating to the top of this lime green concoction.

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This potion seems murky and mysterious . . . but it is actually for healing.

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Well . . . there are always one or two explosions in the magic potions workshop.

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This is a Goblin Eye stuck to the ceiling of our classroom. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how it ended up there. What I do know is that it is very high up and it isn’t coming down anytime soon. Someone’s in for surprise when the regular classes start again in September.

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Here are some of the final potions all lined up on the staging table. The next step is to distill them into miniature bottles. I’ll post those photos later!

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Even though I’ve done this workshop SO many times this year, I haven’t tired of it yet. So, as part of my Summer at St. George’s book publishing camp, I decided to roll it out once again to help inspire my group of young authors.

In this activity, they imagine that their fictional characters have bought pet monsters from the “Magic Monster Shop.” The monsters come in a little bottle kit, and now it’s up to the character to hatch the little beastie. What will the characters end up with? Well, see if you can find any clues based on what you can see in the bottles . . .

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I’m on the last of four writing camps that I’m teaching this summer (whew!). The camp I’m teaching right now is at St. George’s school in Vancouver and runs for two weeks. Each student has the goal of publishing a book so, with this in mind, I decided to start the camp with some brainstorming and plotting to keep everyone on track.

I prepared a handy “snapshot” sheet, which—hopefully—helps them consider all the important elements of their story. Here’s some photos of their brainstorming. Some students “floated” off the worksheet and starting doing their own thing, which I’m always so pleased to see!

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This is a sketch of a new villain I’m working on. I keep doing different versions of him. He’s tended to look a little too cute up til now. So, here’s a snapshot of the latest pages of villainous doodles I did when I had a few minutes during the writing camp I was leading in Korea.

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SkeezleOne of the final workshops that we did at the CWC Secret Worlds camp in Korea involved tiny transportation.

For inspiration we showed them some of the transportation devices from famous movies and books, including  Kendra Kandlestar. Readers of that series might remember Kendra and co.’s walnut boat, or Effryn Hagglehorn’s snail (his name was Skeezle), which acted as a cart for his travelling magic shop. And then, of course, there is the airship that they use for much of the series, affectionately known as The Big Bang.

I was surprised that we didn’t see any paper airplanes or toy cars (though we did get one “bottle vehicle”). It seems most preferred “critter cars!” Here’s some of the drawing and brainstorming that helped informed the kids’ drawings.

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This turned out to be one of my favorite activities at the CWC Secret Worlds camp in Korea. Sticking with our theme of miniature characters, I had each student pit a character against a big problem!

How it worked was this. First, each student picked from Bag #1, which contained a plastic bug (each one was different). Next, they could pick a tool from Bag #2 and then a second tool from Bag #3. The tools included things like buttons (good for shields), postage stamps (good for sticking) and clothes pins (good for . . . er, squeezing?), plus all sorts of other items.

The students then had to brainstorm how their characters would overcome the problem with just those tools in hand. Finally, they wrote the scene.

Since we had already built miniature people, they could stand their figures alongside the bug for scale. This certainly made for a lot of imaginative play. And, let’s face it, the best play so often leads to the best stories.

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Here’s some photos of two more activities we did at the CWC Secret Worlds Camp, led by my teaching partner Kallie George.

In order to get the kids thinking about food from a miniature person’s perspective, we had them build a mini-meal out of clay and then create a menu of that feast.

As part of  a separate activity, the students imagined that their characters had to abandon their current shelter and take up residence in an abandoned bird house. They got to decorate their new home to their liking!

Of course, afterwards, they had to write about both aspects of their characters’ miniature existence.

Mini-Meals

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Hidden Homes

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One of the things we’ve been working on at the CWC Secret Worlds Camp is perspective and perception. After all, if you are a miniature person, the world is going to look very different.

We took a fun approach to this subject by having the students choosing a single room of a house and imagining it as an epic setting that a character must trek across in search of food. So a heap of laundry becomes a mountain, a spilled glass of water becomes a lake, and so forth. Here are some snapshots of some of the maps the students came up with . . .

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