#NaNoWriMoTinyTip: just an excerpt, please!

If your students have been pounding away on their keyboards for the past month, drafting a (very very rough) first draft of a novel (thank you, NaNoWriMo!), you might be wondering how you can assess the work they’ve done. It wouldn’t be fair to assess their first drafts, especially since one rule of NaNoWriMo is that we all “silence our inner editors.” How painful would … Continue reading #NaNoWriMoTinyTip: just an excerpt, please!

#NaNoWriMoTinyTip: Time for Titles

Returning from Fall Break this week, my students have four more days before NaNoWriMo ends. We have two class periods together, plus they will write at home. Our focus this week, after months of planning our stories, collecting writing advice from authors, working through writer’s block, and figuring out how to conclude our novels, is to just get to our word goals. We know the … Continue reading #NaNoWriMoTinyTip: Time for Titles

#NaNoWriMoTinyTip: ogres and onions

When my students create characters for their NaNoWriMo novels, I push them to get super detailed: to hear the songs their characters will listen to when they plug in their earbuds; to picture the snack food they’ll pull from their backpack as they walk home from school; to feel the clothes they’ll grab from their closet on a Saturday morning. But those details don’t get … Continue reading #NaNoWriMoTinyTip: ogres and onions

Put the kids in charge

There’s nothing quite like the intensity, the chaos, the one-crisis-after-another, the sorry-I-can’t-help-you-go-find-someone-who-can, the exhilaration, jubilation and exhaustion of the first day of production in a middle school broadcast media class. My brand new group of 7th and 8th graders had met six times in the first couple weeks of school (90 minutes, every other day) and our audience was antsy for a show. Our news … Continue reading Put the kids in charge

Part 4: Reflections on our bulletin boards

In my last post I shared the beautiful and inspirational bulletin boards that my students created when they were given the challenge to make our classroom walls their own. Not content to end this project with their displays, I then asked them to choose one part of a bulletin board that they liked and reflect on its value to them and our community. Here are … Continue reading Part 4: Reflections on our bulletin boards

Part 3: Bulletin board inspiration

They arrived early on Day 1 of their bulletin board rotation, laden with bags of decorations, eyes and smiles full of¬†anticipation and excitement. I handed them staplers and push pins, and stepped back to watch them work. I had assigned this group to the largest bulletin board in the first round because I knew them well enough to expect them to produce a creative, thought-provoking … Continue reading Part 3: Bulletin board inspiration

Part 2: bulletin boards and student #voice

It took me a few weeks to get our bulletin board remodel going, but now we’re making progress. (See Part 1 here.) The bulletin boards are bare and my students are planning what they will create and bring in to hang on the walls. (I left the life skill posters up on the green bulletin board because they are too high for me to reach … Continue reading Part 2: bulletin boards and student #voice

Student #voice: bulletin boards and literary analysis

In my ongoing efforts to give my students more voice and choice in our classroom, I decided last summer that I would hand over the bulletin boards to them. I wasn’t sure my students even noticed what was on our walls, and I was pretty sure that I didn’t know what they needed to see that might impact their learning. But the start of the … Continue reading Student #voice: bulletin boards and literary analysis

#NaNoWriMoTinyTip: Houses & Hamburgers

The first few years that my students and I wrote novels with NaNoWriMo, I neglected settings. This wasn’t intentional, but my main concern was helping my students plan enough of a plot that they would be able to keep writing for the full month. My lack of novel-writing experience caused me to miss the fact that settings make a big difference in adding more story, … Continue reading #NaNoWriMoTinyTip: Houses & Hamburgers

#NaNoWriMoTinyTip: Ask & Suggest

My students are deep in the planning stages of NaNoWriMo, which means they have crafted their main characters and plotted some main events. But we are all a bit foggy about where our stories might go. Brainstorming ideas and bouncing them off our friends only takes us so far. So today we tried something new, and my students (and I) were so excited about the … Continue reading #NaNoWriMoTinyTip: Ask & Suggest