One of the things I look forward to each year is my after-school Writing Club. For 10 weeks, middle school students (aged 12-14) sign up to spend an hour after school with me just...writing. Luckily, my district recognized that not all students are involved in sports so they agreed to allow me to host a club that focused on creativity and writing skills. It's not STEM, it's not homework, it's not chess. It is just a keyboard, an idea, and a bag of pretzels. We talk while we write. We talk about ideas, about characters, about showing and not telling, about really cool names for antagonists and protagonists, about plots and conflict and appropriate topics and inappropriate ones. And we write. We laugh, too, and build relationships and trust. We need to trust each other since we rely on one another to offer true constructive feedback on our writing pieces.
This is the fourth year we've had our Writing Club. I'm hoping to expand it next year to include a second session for younger students who have reached out asking to participate. In that group, I'd focus more on writing skills as we write, as opposed to content.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on working with young writers. Feel free to comment!