I’m so glad I have an opportunity to write to you after a manic November. As successful as it was, the pace made me question whether I would make it to the end. I did though and am pleased to announce that a high number of the children taking part in the NaNoWriMo Challenge for 2016 met their word targets and surpassed them considerably. Students that participated last year took it upon themselves to really challenge their abilities and their stories have shown what one year’s education can do for them. The plans were stronger and more efficient, their writing was of a higher standard and I’m pleased to say they are actually looking at their edits and correcting them, compared to the tears and tantrums I had to deal with this time last year.
For the younger students, it was a baptism by fire! Some thought it was just another fairy story without a strong middle or a relevant end. After making them sit down and read their stories out to their friends at Library Club, they soon realised that a storyteller has to have much more than pretty pink dresses and matching pink sparkly shoes to make his or her story interesting. It was a fantastic way for them to work on their stories too, as one child found out that her story had a huge gap and mixed characters, a flaw her audience refused to accept. After looking at me with woeful eyes, I suggested she ask her friends to help her fill in the gaps and they gladly skipped off to work the story map again and find a solution to the problem. Hopefully, this will give them the tools to use in class to finish their work in the same way. Check your work, edit out the mistakes and check it again, just in case. They’ll probably detest the sight of me by the end of January next year as I am determined to make them have more responsibility over the stories they submit for the Children’s Anthology.
My youngest writers surprised me. Their determination to finish and be a part of the process was amazing and I’m incredibly proud of them. Once all the stories are edited and checked again for improvements, I will be busy putting them together into the anthology which will be available for the parents to purchase and of course, I will keep a book or two in our school library for the children to read.
The proudest moment I had out of this whole process was when I read a story written by a year 5 student and was blown away by the style and structure of the story. It was a typical zombie story but the style was similar to the horror genre on the market at the moment. I started to get the feeling that maybe, just maybe, she had copied that style and even the storyline. So, I decided to question said writer about how she managed to get such a good script written and who was her inspiration. She shocked me by telling me it came from a story she had read in the Children’s Anthology I created from last year’s writers! Of course, I wracked my brain trying to think of who had written a decent tale of zombies to inspire another writer to such an extent. The real surprise was when she pointed out it was a story written by my daughter called Live or Die! That pretty much made my day. She is currently looking over her story and working ways of improving the end part which wasn’t as strong as the start, but still very good.
From aliens, to many many visits to Candy Land, from princesses with Gobbins under bridges to foxes and witches, the children have created their own special worlds where readers can lose themselves and go on a magical ride, thanks to their hard work and perseverance.
A special thank you to all the parents who take an interest in their children’s writing – you don’t know what a huge impact you are making on your children just by listening to their stories or sparing a moment to help them overcome the monsters and find solutions to how the princess will find her shoes again. These children will have more confidence because of your time and energy in helping them, so thank you.
Making waves into oceans
Setting dreams into motion.