National Day on Writing A Success for Maine Students

Friday, October 19th marked the NCTE National Day on Writing. Technically, Senate resolution 565 commemorates October 20th, but for many of us, every day is writing day and that is our wish for the rest of the world as long as they don’t try to publish and create more competition for me.

Yesterday I caught up with a wonderful librarian friend of mine, Heather Perkinson, who was all aglow with the results of her Day on Writing events. “[The event] showed students that writing is not just something that you do alone. You can do it together and it’s fun. They liked being able to play,” Heather said. Her enthusiasm was contagious and so I am excited to pass on her success for both educators and writers. Perhaps through her wonderful activities, your students can find fun in writing. If you are a writer, maybe it will remind you to take time to play.

Heather’s excitement came from her creation of the GHS Inkspot, a series of live (as opposed to web-based) stations in her HS library where, over the course of the day, many of her school’s ELA classes found fun in writing. The Inkspot link (above) gives plenty of resources to go with the stations, but the stations themselves need some introduction too.

List making: Heather cut notebook paper in half vertically and let the students make lists. The could follow these list prompts or makes their own.

(I’ll add here this site of found grocery lists that certainly contain story starters for a variety of characters. *Not always appropriate for children.*)

Journaling: With 12×12 scrapbook paper, Heather made two front and back covers for journals and gave them out to students who sat right down and started to fill them with writing. See example pictured on GHS Inkspot.

Neologisms: If you’ve ever coined a word, you know what a neologism is. Students taking part in Inkspot created new definitions for some of Lizzie Skurnick’s words and coined some words of their own.

Poster stickies: Oversized stickies on the library wall became the gallery of favorite student quotes, words (wasabi is my personal favorite), authors, and song lyrics.

Flash Fiction: Character, setting, conflict, human experience. Nuff said. (See Heather’s links at GHS Inkspot.

Exquisite Corpse: What Day on Writing would be complete without an Exquisite Corpse station. This parlor game allows collaborators to add to a drawing or story, or reinterpret a series of sentences. Sometimes the writer knows what comes before and sometimes they don’t. At the library, Heather used a chartpad with a cloth covering that moved down the board as others participated.

In addition to these activity stations, the school literary and art magazine staffed a table where they answered questions about submission guidelines, had examples of past issues, and brought their submission box. If a student didn’t have submission ready to go, they could fill out a submission pledge!

As a new hire at this school, many of the English teachers didn’t know what to expect from Heather’s Day on Writing.  “I should have let people know farther ahead. It’s so hard for the teachers to change their schedule,” she said. Still, GHS Inkspot showed that her events are worth planning around. She is looking forward to serving more of the students with future events.

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