We continue on our own narrative quest/hero’s journey. My students have chosen various parts of their lives to write about: home burglaries, first day of school, first music tour, and some have simply sketched their life up to now. I chose to write the adventure of moving to Colorado after my first year of college at UNL in Nebraska when I was hired as a riding staff member at a girl scout camp in the mountains of Allenspark. This move took me on a long journey of mountain summers with horses and campers, both youth and adults. I loved every minute of that almost thirty year adventure!
After completing our maps, we began to draft yesterday and will continue today and tomorrow- just, as I tell them, “to vomit out everything we want to be sure to say” and then we’ll go back in to revise and finesse. I’m trying something new with them, because they have a very difficult time giving good feedback to each other on writing. Once we have the drafts, we’ll take highlighters to them and “diagram” different elements that we’ve discovered make good stories. Our list so far: realistic dialogue, amazing description of setting, sensory detail-we joke about how we know it’s good when we want to eat the page after a good description of food, and several other items.
They don’t realize how much they have to offer with their stories. Even as I sit among them, writing my own story, I can’t help but stop when it’s quiet to look around and smile because they are bent over a Chrome book or their paper and they are writing! They are so engaged in their own story. This was not the case during Romeo & Juliet. 🙂 When they write about their own lives, my classroom is so quiet and I can feel the energy of a roomful of writers. It’s incredible.