Friday, December 5, 2014

Celebrating NaNoWriMo accomplishments and hard conversations

My 8th graders turned in their NaNoWriMo stories on Monday and they are STILL talking about how much they loved the experience. One girl said today, "I learned so much about writing from NaNoWriMo. I wish we were still doing it." Another said, "Now whenever we're asked to a short essay, I'll be like, 'this is a piece of cake' after going through NaNoWriMo." I've only had a couple students write and talk about it being a bad experience for them. Most of them said they really enjoyed it. So I'm still basking in the glow of their writing motivation. Clearly I need to do NaNoWriMo with my students every year.

In addition to celebrating their NaNoWriMo accomplishments, however, we also had some really tough conversations this week about race in the wake of all that is happening in our country right now. I was initially very hesitant to discuss such an emotionally-charged topic with my students, but overall, they were very mature and respectful, even if we didn't always agree. It was hard to hear some of the things they were saying, but I also know that sweeping this issue under the rug would have been a missed opportunity for a teachable moment. I'm glad I decided to stick my neck out, crawl out of my turtle shell, and talk about the tough stuff with them.

Celebrate This Week was established by Ruth Ayres


  1. Talking about those tough issues is always challenging, but it sounds like you and your students handled it beautifully! Congrats to your students on finishing NaNoWriMo!! It's quite an accomplishment! So much to celebrate today!

  2. Congrats on NaNoWriMo! It's great to see students excited about writing. I'm also happy that you braved the waters with difficult conversations.

  3. It's not easy at all to talk about hard topics, but it always feels strange to ignore the news, too. Good for you for sticking your neck out, Beth. And congrats on the NaNoWriMo work. I can't imagine doing it, much less with students all month. Wow!

  4. You are so lucky you were able to talk about these issues. I know some teachers in the Ferguson area were not allowed to talk to their students about all that was going on. We need these discussions - no matter what side of the issue a person is on. Congrats on the writing - what an accomplishment for everyone!