Everyone will probably get sick of these NaNo-posts.
What can I say?
I'm a little obsessed and a lot nervous.
Monday was one of those beautiful, hopeful days.
Every single hour, every single kid worked.
And not just worked.
Worked quietly, productively, consistently for an extended period of time.
It was a new seating chart day.
Fellow teachers, only you will truly appreciate this:
I only had to say "I take complaints at 2:55" TWICE.
Seriously. Only two people complained enough to warrant response.
Everyone else just got seated and got busy.
Almost everyone at least claimed to have worked over the weekend.
Based on what I saw completed, most actually did work over the weekend.
Let me repeat that.
Most of my 9th grade students did homework over the weekend.
Did I mention it was a beautiful, hopeful day?
I sat down and worked on my own writing during three different classes.
I conferenced with several students.
A few asked great questions about the characters they are developing.
Three or four were ready to move on to setting (eek!).
Setting is the piece I am conducting a mini-lesson on tomorrow.
Thankfully, I had a few half-baked ideas ready to go.
Honestly, I really really didn't think anyone would get that far so quickly.
Completely awesome surprise.
I had a couple of favorite moments.
At least one kid in every class has elected to create an abstract antagonist...
and had the forethought to ask me how to make that work within the boundaries of the character profiles they have been assigned.
A few kids are designing their own worlds...
Which is incredibly ambitious and admirable.
I set them the task of finding and experimenting with some on-line world builder games.
The best, though, was this one kid.
This kid hates everything.
Well, not really, but he complains about every single thing.
He even complains about getting his way.
Monday, he not only worked without complaining for an extended period of time,
He also showed me his work, and then, and this is a big deal,
He admitted he is excited about writing his novel.
You could have knocked me over with a feather.
I was so surprised and pleased, I almost told him how shocked I was (double eek!).
Instead, I managed to restrain my excitement to a more appropriate level.
Maybe I am being overly optimistic.
After all, good days happen, often without any rhyme or reason.
Maybe, though, what I am witnessing is real.
I find the whole concept of NaNoWriMo totally petrifying.
I have been making excuses not to try it for years.
It is such a monumental task, such a fundamental shift from more traditional high school English curriculum.
I am pushing myself to run my classroom in a very very different way.
It is fun, but uncomfortable.
So these days that go well deserve celebration.
For my sanity, if nothing else.
I am so proud of my students, so hopeful about this project, so awed by the possibilities.
Days like today are all around good things.
It is rare for me, for any teacher, to have a day so flawless you have to search for "ugh" moments.
I cherish this feeling.
I appreciate how fleeting it can be.
It gives me hope my students will flourish and such days come closer to my norm.