Students in Lori LaBoe’s fifth grade classroom participated in National Novel Writing Month this November with startling results. The thirty young writers wrote more than 150,000 words within the month. That’s an average of 5,769 words! Each day school was in session, they spent forty-five minutes writing. At home, they would work on skills and strategies to improve and deepen their fiction.
Before students began their stories, they plotted them out, using story arcs and character templates. Rich discussions about structure and story took place, similar to classes taught at the adult fiction-writing level. Some students were a bit apprehensive about the project, others couldn’t wait to get started.
In the end, students reported that the opportunity to write fiction allowed them to think of themselves differently, stretch their creative muscles and produce. The top word writers will be submitting a scene and one winner will be chosen to work with local author, Claudia Whitsitt http://www.claudiawhitsitt.com, and have their scene published on her website.
The project culminated with a NaNoWriMo party, in which students shared the synopsis of their writing with parents and staff.
Congratulations to all these young and talented writers, as well as their teacher, Lori LaBoe, for providing the opportunity! As an author, I am thrilled that students had the opportunity to learn so much about fiction writing. It’s my hope that we have at least one or two future authors in this group.