Elementary School Launches After-School Writing Club


Each November, thousands of aspiring authors get serious about producing pages by participating in National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. Founded in 1999, the event has gone global, attracting more than 100,000 dedicated scribblers willing to make a month-long commitment to creative writing.
Elementary teacher Sheri Allen recently brought NaNoWriMo to Runnels through the organization’s Young Writers Program. The NaNoWriMo Club for 6th graders had its first meeting in mid-October. The writing community, which has already attracted more than a dozen members, meets directly after school on Tuesdays and Fridays in the Elementary Computer Lab. "Any 6th grader interested in creative writing is still welcome to join," said Mrs. Allen. 
So far, the club members, a mixture of boys and girls, have been doing a lot of talking about books and writing. They have discussed their favorite books and characters and are working on how to create characters in their own writing. To help them, Mrs. Allen has developed a pictorial template for character development. Students can use the template like an image driven digital bulletin board, pulling in pictures from other applications such as Pinterest to build information about characters. 
“There’s no pressure about writing in the club,” Mrs. Allen said. “It’s good for kids not to think of writing as a chore but to take pleasure in it.”    
What makes her especially happy about the club, she explained, is bringing together students who haven’t gotten to know each other before because they haven’t participated in the same activities. “They’ll benefit from getting to know each other,” she added. 
As part of the NaNoWriMo writing community, the students soon will be signing contracts saying they will devote time to writing every day in November.