After a summer of intense classes, I am now in final push mode. This includes my capstone thesis on changing how 3rd graders view writing and the ever looming NaNoWriMo in November. Not only will I be writing again this year (and going for the the fourth win) but I'll also be leading a motley crew of 3rd graders through as well.
My capstone thesis is thus: kids don't like writing because they are scared of things like blank pages, how much they're expected to write and because it's not always perfect. (Hmmm... sounds like most adults I know.) I think that as they go through Writer's Workshop, they begin to deal with some of those issues but pushing a crew through NaNoWriMo blows those fears out of the water. Because NaNoWriMo has the Young Writers Program (YWP) where kids set their own goal, it's less intimidating than 50k words, but still a challenge. We're thinking 50 words a day for the kids for a 1,500 word push is pretty good. I suspect a lot of the kids will choose to do more while others will hang on. One kid that has started talking to me about YWP is one of the kids who struggles greatly with writing but is so excited about writing a pirate story, he's already counting the days to November first.
The other part of this is the research component. Many of the books on teaching and encouraging writing I am reading, I must review which leads me to....
I will start posting reviews of various books I am looking at for my research component. It will include some of the more instructional sort of stuff from folks like Lucy Calkins and Ruth Fulham to more general advice by folks like Gail Carson Levine. Those will start springing up here in the next few days and will continue through the end of November.
Finally what I'm writing about this year. Last year I wrote 30 short stories in 30 days. The year before that was "Cyn," about a young girl torn between familial duty and her own desire to be a mechanic set on a steampunk airship. My first year was an MG piece called "Diversity is Not a Race," about the weirdos in a middle school. While that piece is truly horrible on many levels, the reality is that it gave me the confidence to write and reminded me that I had novels in me even if I'm not currently writing them.
This year is looking like I may finally write that epic adventure "Bring me the Cryogenically Frozen Head of Ted Williams," about a couple of typical Masshole Red Sox fans on the quest to find the meaning of life, the universe and everything and how it all relates to their passion for the hometown team.
Through it all, I still have to do weekly essays for my child psych class, my big paper for my history class on Profiles in Power (DeGaulle, Nixon, Deng Xiaoping and Gorbachev). Then there's always the mundane things like cooking, cleaning and such in all of that too. But do stay tuned as things heat up here once again.