Saturday, November 20, 2010

Need Help Controlling Your Chaos?

I do.

That's why I go and visit Controlling my Chaos whenever I see there is a new post. Not only is the site full of organizing tips that are cute to boot, but the Head Mistress of Controlled Chaos, Jill, is hilarious. I am positive she is some sort of magical creature because I don't know how she gets it all done and still sleeps. Oh, and did I mention she is a t-e-a-c-h-e-r?  Scores some major points in my book.

Oh, and did I also mention that I don't have to come up with a Thanksgiving Day decoration because Jill made mine for me?  Well, ok, she didn't create it with me in mind, but I still WON HER GIVEAWAY!

She gave me permission to steal these photos from her site:

Yeah. She made this. In her spare time.

Now I'm just hoping that she'll soon get sick of those gorgeous red dishes in her hutch and have another giveaway.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The NaNoWriMo Beat Goes On

Day 17 and I am at 28,708 words, creeping toward my 50,000 word goal.

Last Friday night we had our first write-in, when those students who wanted to work on their novels came to school and wrote for an hour or two.  There was some writing done, but more talking and snacking. There were even some subliminal messages to the teacher as I passed computer screens.

Today, one of my seventh graders was the first to complete her novel of 5,000 words. The classroom was full of excitement as we watched one of our own succeed. Others have passed the half way mark and are excited to report to me when they reach a new milestone.Student goals range anywhere from 2,000-50,000 words, depending on desire and capability. Most goals are within the 10,000-17,000 range.

Doing the NaNoWriMo project has been rewarding beyond my expectations. Parents come up to me and tell me that their child spends all their free time working on their novel. They are so proud to see their children invested in something huge. Other days the pride is all mine as I see every spare computer chair occupied, even by those kids who don't have my class during that time.They take spare class periods or their lunch hours to sneak into the computer room [my classroom] to work. Sometimes I can scarcely walk through the classroom as students are perched at odd places, trying to get some novel-writing in before their next class.

 The NaNoWriMo people sent us a package of buttons this week. They're proudly displayed on jackets, backpacks and binders.

One month ago, students grumbled when I gave them a one-hundred word in-class descriptive writing assignment. Those days are gone as they realize that I could now give them a 1000 word assignment and they would still be saying, "piece of cake."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's NaNoWriMo Time!

We're not doing it---we just love saying it! Na No Wri Mo. How fun is that?

OK, I lied. We really are doing it. What is it, you might ask?  It stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is an online literary event where adults pledge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. If you submit your novel to their site and the word count is 50,000+ at the end of November, you win.

It started in 1999 when Chris Baty invented the project and has escalated from there. I have wanted to do it for several years now, but November always seemed to sneak up on me. This year I was more (scarcely) prepared.

Since I teach composition to twenty-seven students, I told Computer Geek that I was going to have all my students do it too. He tried to bring me back to earth by telling me there is no way a twelve-year old could write a 50,000 word novel in a month. Reluctantly, I agreed, then promptly found their teen site for young writers. It had more realistic goals, outlined by grade, plus had a free printable workbook to help students through the month.

I must say that this is one of the most exciting projects I have ever done as a teacher. Kids that formerly would prefer to get an F before they would actually submit a paper, are on fire about writing a book. I teach literature and composition in a tiny room that doubles as a library and computer lab. There are ten computers, but my classes have between six and seven students. In each class period I have had students ask me if they could use the spare computers to work on their stories. They call me frequently when they get stuck for an idea or if they are not sure what to do next. Each day, they post their current word counts in our virtual classroom.  Later in the month we are going to have a NaNoWriMo writing marathon.

People have asked me, "You're doing it too?"  How could I plead busy-ness and expect my students to write a novel in thirty days? I'm "write" along there with them. Only 37,903 words to go!

For those of you who might be up for the challenge, only seven days have passed. At 1667 words a day, you only need 11,669 to catch up before November 30.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...