I titled it “Finding My Voice” and pitched it to third through fifth graders who stay after school in a day care program. Then others wanted to join, so I opened it to anyone who would come back an hour after school is dismissed and write with me. We’ve been meeting two times a week for awhile and the survivors who stuck with it have their projects going. They are mostly in the after school program.
It interests me to see that three boys have taken off with free verse for their own stories having read Love That Dog and Hate That Cat. A worthy mentor text. They are getting voice into their pieces and they are engaged.
I was conferring with one writer this afternoon when I realized that, in writing intervention, usually the students do not know how to write dialogue. I jumped up and asked. They wanted to say yes, but the thumbs were down.
So we used the scene the student was working on and we co-wrote on a chart the dialogue, pointing out the conventions. And I urged them to put their character words and thoughts into the scenes.
I settled back to give them one more stretch of writing time. In closing, I pointed out on the calendar how we have only a few more sessions and talked about our read around celebration. One writer asked, “Will be be able to come write after that?”
“No, not after the club ends,” I said gently.
“Then how about next year? another asked.
“Maybe,” I smiled. I was pleased to realize they value this time and space and the writing experience.