5
Mar

Working with Young Writers

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!

20
Oct

#rockthedrop: Promoting Teen Reading

I love getting my colleagues involved in helping to get kids to read more. So when the annual #rockthedrop campaign rolls around, I put the call out to all teachers in the building to help out. No matter the subject area, reading is a vital component of learning. All teachers know this, so when the call goes out, everyone jumps at the chance to participate.

What is #rockthedrop?  It's an annual organized event that promotes teen reading. You can read about it here:

Operation Teen Book Drop

The "drop", through the help of readergirlz.com, is linked to the #rockthedrop hashtag and can be followed on twitter and instagram. The idea behind it is to leave a young adult book somewhere a young reader would find it. Plastered with a post-it that says "Take me! Free book!", the hope is that a young person will find it, read it, and give it a good home.  A bookmark provided as a free download file on  readergirlz.com asks the new owner of the book to tweet or instagram where they found it.

I love getting the students and teachers involved in events like this. I'm probably just as excited planning the event as any young reader is when they find a free book!  An added bonus is when one of us is lucky enough to witness a book being claimed by an unsuspecting young person who happens to stumble onto their new treasure.  We were lucky this year to hear that two teachers who participated witnessed their books being picked up. Boy, that made them feel good!

It's rare in life that we come across such simple ways to make others happy. Being able to get a good book into the hands of a kid who may grow to love reading because of this simple act is a gift in itself.  Getting students to join in on the giving is an even greater gift.  Teen Lit Day is in April - and #rockthedrop is publicized by readergirlz.com.  Be sure to mark your calendars and look for upcoming dates for future drops. You won't regret it!

Here are some of our drops from this year:

rock-the-drop-elizabeth-1  rock-the-drop-cecelia    rock-the-drop-bethann  rock-the-drop-7-kaitlynrock-the-drop-1 rock-the-drop-3rock-the-drop-5 rock-the-drop-beth-allen   rock-the-drop-bethann rock-the-drop-dorothy-tucker rock-the-drop-gina rock-the-drop-hoerster rock-the-drop-madge

 

 

 

 

rock-the-drop-2  rockthedrop-prep