NaNoWriMo Winner

Linnea is a talented 5th grade writer. We had a blast working on her scene.

Linnea is a talented 5th grade writer. We had a blast working on her scene.

Congratulations Linnea! She is the winner of the National Novel Writing Month competition we conducted in her classroom this year, writing 4,696 words in one month.

Linnea is an extremely talented 5th grade writer. I predict great things will come from this young lady!

For the past three years, I have involved students in fiction writing though NaNoWriMo, three years ago when I was teaching, and the past two years with my former colleague, a teacher from whom I have great respect, Lori LaBoe. Lori is an immensely talented Language Arts teacher who is constantly doing things above and beyond her already packed schedule to provide her students with a wide range of opportunities and challenges.

Many students don’t have the opportunity to write fiction, and therefore, in my humble opinion, don’t enjoy writing as much as they could. Kids ate up the idea of spending a month working on a fiction project and wrote genres from fantasy to historical fiction to realistic fiction.

Linnea’s work is rich in suspense, figurative language, and emotion. She’s a talented artist as well. Below, you will find the synopsis and drawing she did for the classroom NaNoWriMo book the student’s published along with Mrs. LaBoe.

Discussing what writer’s do to hook their reader by starting in the middle of the action is a concept Linnea embraced. I’m so proud of her and of all the students for their hard work and enthusiasm on this project.

An excerpt from Something in the Water by Linnea:

Cam dashes over to my stand, kicking up sand beneath her feet. Her face is red as a tomato and she’s panting like she ran a mile nonstop.

“Mack!” she says. She spits the word out like she just tasted something bitter. She’s trying to tell me something, I know it. She grasps my hand, and drags me toward the sandy beach. When I wrestle my hand out of her curiously strong grasp, I pull away.

“Cam! What is wrong?!” I yell.

She stammers. “The-the…” she starts. She gives up on words and relies on her fingers as she points to the water.

“So?” I say.

Her lower lip trembles with fear, as if she will cry. Then I see it. There are not any waves, but the water is rolling back and forth, like oil in a moving frying pan.

Every kid who goes to school in Hawaii knows what this means. A tsunami.

As soon as my eyes get wide, Cam takes off running. It takes me a while to realize what’s happening. But whether I know or I don’t, I take off after her.

When I get away from the shore, my foot gets caught in a coil of rope. The water keeps rolling, farther and farther.

“Cam! Help Me!” I scream.

She turns her head but keeps running. I try wrenching my foot out, but the water is quicker than me. The water comes straight for the island, knocking away everything in its path. I tried and tried, but the rope seemed to tighten in my struggle. I start to lose feeling in my right foot, but fortunately for me, the rope frayed and let me go. I sink to the ground, and with enough momentum, I push myself to the surface.

As you can see, this is a talented young writer, and at 5th grade, I think you’ll agree, we are destined to see more from her in the future.

Fiction writing is freeing, the students told me. They loved the project! And that, folks, is what we’re after. Special thanks to Lori LaBoe for always welcoming into the classroom and fostering the love of both reading and writing in her students.