Middle School Writing Program
November is National Novel Writing Month – known more fondly by our middle school students as NaNoWriMo. The writing program implements many fundamental values associated with the Montessori Philosophy. The students are brought into this dynamic world with the idea that they are able to write about what impacts them without any limits or hesitations. The aim is for the students to set their own goals and to outline any information that they may find useful for their writing piece.
During October, 8th years planned their novels by creating interesting characters, designing conflict, establishing setting, and plotted key scenes. Before they began writing, students establish a word count goal and develop a topic they would like to write about. Once they’ve established their topic they began writing without editing. Each student chose their own goals for their writing sample and through the process began to understand and learn time management skills. Students planned novels in diverse genres including horror, historical fiction, realistic fiction, and fantasy. They put away their inner editor and just write. When I asked a student why they chose a specific topic she stated, “I wanted to include some elements of my family, specifically my grandmother’s side, and I believe this piece that I wrote is historical fiction. My writing is more of a series of letters, much like a collection of books compiled. This story came easy to me since I had already planned it in my head.”
During December, students edited and revised their novels, created title pages with cover art, and published their work. This period also allows the chance to review their peers work. The student also stated, “I enjoyed reading about my friend’s novel. We had briefly discussed what our topics were, however it was a different experience to read my friend’s work first hand.” When I asked about her writing process and if it was hard to stay on track with her routine she said, “Some days were harder for me to write than others since it was during the holiday season. But I have my planner and set time aside to keep track for my writing in order to help achieve my word count goal.” Finally, her advice to future authors was,”plan ahead, write how much you want to accomplish each day or hour, write in short amounts and do no overthink.” By using this program, students learned about the process of creating different types of work. Once the students had completed their novels and designed their covers with a title, they are to pick a portion of their story for their teacher to review, comment, and grade through google docs.
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