I have been a bad blogger lately. Sorry! So much to do and so little time. In fact, I have so little time I signed up for an EdCamp event this Saturday and I am going to cancel it. Not because I don't want to go (I think it would be super fun) but because I need to step back and spend time with my family. I have been way too overworked and it isn't cool.
Anyway we've been cruising right along at school and the students are SO EXCITED about NaNoWriMo, which officially starts tomorrow. I set myself up for a nightmare because I am doing NaNo on my own AND with the kiddos. 80,000 words in a month? While teaching full-time? Having a family? AM I INSANE? (Well, yes, I am!)
The fabulous folks at NaNo have a whole young writers program, complete with Common Core aligned curriculum. I created a virtual classroom for my students at the NaNo Young Writer's site and today my students logged in and did the word count generator to see what they should change their word count goals to. Some kept them at the 30,000 mark which is the default but several went down to 15,000 since we'll be doing the majority of our writing by hand (with a few times of typing what we've written so they get an accurate count).
We've been going through the character worksheets: first the main character, then the supporting character (we decided they were the "sidekicks") and today the villian. I have a student this year who drives me batty. He's smart but SO lazy. He got away with a lot of junk last year that just doesn't work for me. So today as I showed the kids how to log on and use the word count goal generator, I let them see how it works by typing in a story as we went along. (And based on the free write of 10 minutes x 1 hour per day it said I should be able to write 105,000 words in November.) I just made up a story as we went along, typing as we went. They were impressed I can type without looking and how fast I can type without making mistakes. Funny the stuff that impresses them!
Anyway so I started out by writing "Once upon a time, there was the most fabulous teacher ever and her name was Mrs. Raye" and just got sillier as we went. I named my villian after this student who gets on my nerves and we just went with it...I put a kick me sign on his back and he was going to get revenge on me. I gave him a present and it came in a big box. He was so excited his eyes were about to burst out...one fell onto his cheek and he had to wipe it off and stick it back into its socket. Inside the box was a stinky, smelly, nasty monster who had 5 eyes, 6 nostrils and 23 feet. It ate this poor little boy...and then the monster coughed, gasped and choked on this rotten kid and threw him up. So another student threw up on someone's new shoes and another student threw up on someone's back pack. The kid was embarrassed so he body slammed me to the floor. I can't remember what I decided I said in the story but I did something to him and he says "Oh NO you didn't." and then the timer stopped. It was a bummer to realize I lost the writing. The kids LOVED it. I used several of my students in the story and they thought it was hilarious.
One of the kids said, "wow you sure like to write!" I hope that my 10 minute sample really showed them how you can banish that inner editor and just WRITE! Afterward the kids worked on their Villian worksheets and the little guy who I put in my story says "can I make YOU my villian??" I figured it was only fair since he was a good sport about me doing it to him. It will be interesting to see what he comes up with. I'm almost scared to read it.
They were laughing so hard and having so much fun as I was demonstrating the writing that I thought my neighboring teachers might get annoyed. Mrs. A, who teaches on the other side of the wall told me at lunch that she was very curious what we were doing because it sure sounded like we were having fun. Later this afternoon we had time to visit the lab and get the kids onto the Young Writer's Program website and they are all fired up. I can't wait to see how this goes.
I promised the kids we'd work on it all month and then edit in December. I will then let them choose an excerpt of their book to add to our classroom anthology and we'll really publish them (with parental permission of course). They are excited about the prospect of others being able to buy and read their stories. If this is the only thing they remember from this year, it will be fabulous.