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Sunday, November 20, 2016

The scary things.

I'm afraid this might sound like bragging.

It isn't. At least, not on purpose.

See, NaNoWriMo is, as I have said several times, terrifying.

We got off to a pretty strong start mostly.

Lots of students dove right in.

But now that we are getting into the middle of the month, many are stalling out.

There is a loss of motivation, momentum, and enthusiasm.

A number of students are just stuck and don't know what to write next.

And it is November.

The time of year when anxiety rises, compliance decreases, and everyone seems to be stuck in a pre-Thanksgiving slump.

Then add a super moon and a late start to the mix.

Honestly, I did not have terribly high hopes for this day.

I figured if no one melted down completely, I would count it a win.

Pleasant surprise: I was wrong.

Like, really wrong.

It was a good day.

Attendance was better than I had feared.

Behavior in general was better than I anticipated.

The mini-lesson I planned was actually mini!

It only took five minutes.

Plus, it was pretty effective I think.

But the best part, the best part was something three different kids said.

Three different times, three different hours, three different kids:

"Are we writing today?"

With hope, not trepidation or reluctance.

Three different kids smiled when I said yes.

All three looked relieved and pleased.

It isn't a big deal.

In fact, several dozen different kids wrote diligently today and seemed to enjoy doing so.

That makes me feel pretty awesome.

All I can say is that there is something really special about having kids ask to write.

There is something fundamentally good about hearing positive desire to work.

This is where I'm afraid I will sound like I am bragging.

Because I have worked my tail off to create the conditions for this to happen.

I have faced some of my deepest personal fears about writing and teaching to do this.

And it is working.

That's not a brag.

It is a joyful recognition of some small success.

I am thrilled.

Of course, I also already have a huge list of things I can do better next year.

But those little validations are a good thing.

It is ok for me to be proud of them.

It is a good thing to acknowledge all the little successes that make it worth it to do the scary things.

Maybe, I could even say, the scary things are good things.

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