RMS writers discover the joy of wordsAfter 30 days and tens of thousands of words the seventh graders at Rosemount Middle School have learned something important about writing: It’s actually kind of fun.
By: Nathan Hansen, Rosemount Town Pages
After 30 days and tens of thousands of words the seventh graders at Rosemount Middle School have learned something important about writing: It’s actually kind of fun.
All through November the students participated in National Novel Writing Month, an ongoing effort to get people of all ages to sit down and write. The students came up with plots and characters, and they set goals for the number of words they would write. English teacher Christin Carlson, who had been trying for years to figure out how to work the activity into curriculum, said about 90 percent of students met their word goal. A few students wrote more than 15,000 words and one wrote 28,000.
“I think every genre was represented,” Carlson said. “What I found, if they were reading fantasy books, that’s the kind of book they wrote. I think they got into it because they had that choice.”
At the end of the month students chose an excerpt of their novel to revise and polish. They submitted those for grading and read them in front of their classmates. Along the way students learned about story structure, character development and dialogue. They learned just how much they were capable of writing. And they got excited about the process. Carlson suddenly had students showing up for class eager to get to work, or chasing her down in the hall to ask questions about the plots of their stories.
In a survey some students said they were surprised at the number of ideas they had. Or at how much they could write.
“I think they learned to have the confidence that they can be creative. Some of them said that writing is actually fun and they never realized that before,” Carlson said. “They understand the structure of the novel and are able to write one themselves.”
Carlson said she and Amy Pendino, the school’s other seventh grade English teacher, plan to bring the project back next year.