Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Attack of the Young Writers

I arrived a little early to my first Young Writers Program meeting with my stack of writing workbooks and my bag of prizes to entice the students. And I waited.

And waited.

Just when I thought the teachers I had distributed the flyer to last week had forgotten the YWP entirely, twelve kids showed up. Hooray!

Twelve is a nice number. Nice and personal. Then I realized they were all from one class. This meant I had three missing class groups. Oh crap.

I waited a little bit but no one else came so we proceeded with the intro. These were all fourth graders who I'd not worked with before. They were quiet and listened really well. At the end of our half hour together, they were excited and promised to be back on friday. I was thrilled.

I went to hunt down the three other teachers and found them all together in the lounge with looks of 'oh no!' on their faces when they caught sight of me. "Was that today?"

"Uh huh."

"We thought it was next week! Do you have an extra half hour? We'll send our kids right down."

"Sure." My day was crammed and I was pressed for time, but I figured half an hour wouldn't kill me.

Ten minutes later, thirty-five kids file into the library. Thirty-five. And these are only fifth graders. There's still one mystery quantity of fourth graders to be discovered on friday.

I'd learned my lesson last year when fifty kids showed up the first day, rabid for pizza and prizes. Umm, nooooo. The pizza party is at the end, after you earn it and the only way to get prizes is to earn them by writing. That announcement got rid of almost half of them.

So this year, I didn't even mention prizes or pizza on my flyer. Yet, the kids still showed up in droves. I spent my extra time with my eager and ultra inquisitive fifth graders doing my best to instill that this program involved writing. Lots of writing. There would be pizza and prizes, but ONLY after a lot of writing.

When I got done with my not near as enticing pitch as I'd given the forth graders, I came out and asked, "How many of you still really, really want to do this program? How many of you will be here for our planning meeting on Friday and be ready to write on Monday?"

Every darn one of them raised their hand.

I love that the teachers adore this writing program and that so many students want to particiapte, but holey moley. This is going to be a very long November. Or a blur. Let's aim for a blur, shall we?

7 comments:

  1. Oh mah gawd! I'm scared and I'm not even involved. Go blur go!!

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  2. This is such a sweet story, Jean. Glad they all raised their hands! Must feel really good.

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  3. Sounds like a busy month ahead, Jean. Hopefully a good busy though. Good luck with it, and we'll be expecting a report on how it went December 1 :D

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  4. @Stella - Exactly. The crazy part is, my adult participants are growing in number and particpation levels just as much as the kids are. I'm totally overwhelmed on both fronts.

    @Elena - It does feel good. :) We'll see how many actually show up on friday.

    @Botanist - I'll be reporting all month. I need somewhere to vent. :D

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  5. So...the forecast for November is blurry with outbreaks of spleen. I must remember my umbrella...

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