November 18, 2014
Slice of Life Tuesday: Did You Volunteer For This??
Call me crazy, but I sort of love arriving at school an hour before class begins. Not because I can get so much extra work done in those quiet hours before students are trouncing through every nook and cranny in the building. Nope. I love this extra time because I get to spend it with young writers every day.
NaNoWriMo is in full swing, and for me that means a month-long writing club that meets every morning to write, share, and grow our writing community. This is one of the biggest years for our little community so far -- right at 25 fourth and fifth grade students come to school early every day to work on novels they chose to write.
Honestly, it's pretty amazing. There isn't much that can touch this experience in the awesomeness factor for me for the rest of the school year. Even so, I always get many questions about why I do this. And how.
"Did you volunteer for this??"
"You show up how early??"
"How do you get them to keep coming back?"
"They just ... write?"
"Wait. So they actually sit down and write?!"
"Wow, I bet you can't wait for November to end!"
The truth is actually simple, and maybe a little bit boring. (Though here is an easy-to-use wikispace we've been testing out this year, heaped with writing tips for the beginning novel writer!)
I don't make this happen. They do.
I invite them, give them a place to hang out, and talk to them about their story ideas. I give them space to do something they love. They show up. They do the work.
We all respect each other's writing. We celebrate every word that goes down on paper; whether it's word one or five thousand. They set their own word goal and write until their little hands cramp up to meet those goals. They write in their spare time. They write at lunch. They write over the weekend.
They do the thing that all writers must do: they write.
Beginning every morning surrounded by these energetic young writers that are having fun and cheering each other on? That's easy.
The hard part is getting used to not having their smiling faces and wondrous words filling up my space each morning when November ends. Thank goodness for December's Revision Club!