Wendy's favorite quotes

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."— Dr. Seuss

Saturday, January 29, 2011

In which I help a few kids and have a blast…

At my daughter’s request, I started teaching an after school young writers club. Friday afternoons I meet with 6-10 kids from the 5th-8th grade.

The first week we talked about Dan Wells 7 point story structure. If you have not watched all 5 of his free videos on Youtube, you should. They are awesome. Over the next few weeks we talked about character interviews. They filled in their own 7 points with both heroes and villains, and they interviewed each other.
We talked about grammar a little for some common mistakes, and focused on writing good dialogue. The Nanowrimo site has a terrific lessons for free downloads.

This last week, I was blown away by the quality of their writing.

One wrote a series of journal entries about a girl whose perfect family is falling apart as the parents spiraled toward divorce. Another wrote about a character who suffered from constant pressure from bullies and feared to tell anyone about it lest the cruelty get worse. The topics are far more deep and real than I expected. I’m excited to see what they write next.

After their stories are finished and edited, we’ll bind the stories together and make a book so they each get a copy to keep. I’m a shameless briber by the way. I give them a candy bar every time they complete a chapter.

When I was in 4th grade, I had a teacher that praised my poetry. In 7th grade when my grades were sliding and I had no faith in myself, a teacher asked me if I’d like to be in the honors English class. Why she noticed me, I’ll never know. But I still remember how it changed the way I thought of myself. I hope that when these kids finish this year, they will remember that this was the year they became authors.

Have you stepped out of your comfort zone lately?


Mike Keyton said...

That's a great story, Wendy, and a great advert for teachers.

Shallee said...

That is so cool! I bet you really are having a blast, and it sounds like those kids are too.

Wendy Swore said...

Mike & Shallee, thanks for stopping by. I've been perusing both your blogs today.

Mike, I love all the historical info you've put together there.

Shallee- Your header on your blog is beautiful--and congrats on finishing your first draft.

Renae W. Mackley said...

Great ideas with great links for me to check out. (I already visited the interview questions.) I hope you will post more on this in the future.

Perri said...

This is a lovely post!

Funny, I've taught creative writing to my students for years and never thought to offer it at my kids' school. I bet my 11 year old would love an after-school class like this.

Maybe I too, should step outside of my comfort zone!

Wendy Swore said...

I will be sure to post what becomes of this little adventure. Glad you liked it.

Perri- you should ask your child if they are interested. Mine feels very special that I do this for her. I read your blog and wow are you talented with making felt creatures. Looks like your homested keeps you busy! (This coming from a farmer :)

Randall said...


Thanks for sharing. We home school our children. They've been through a pretty rigorous writing course, but my wife is always looking for new ideas. I'm going watch Dan Wells lessons on You Tube and check out the other suggested materials.

Thanks again,

Randy McNeely