Park School Sixth-graders have the 'Write Stuff'
Students in Sherrie Sekyra's language arts class at Park School in District 46 not only met a challenge to write a 3,000-word novel in 30 days, they each surpassed it.
The students recently completed the National Novel Writing Contest (NaNoWriMo), which is the world's largest youth writing event. The class had a "Thank Goodness it's Over" celebration on Dec. 14 where they enjoyed treats and read excerpts from their novels in front of parents.
The 25 students wrote a collective 243,894 words, a great deal more than the 75,000-word minimum total. Two students even wrote more than 30,000 words each.
"In all my years of teaching, I've never seen kids so enthusiastic about writing," said Sekyra.
The students really enjoyed the contest, said Sekyra, because they felt a sense of ownership over their writing and set personal goals for themselves.
Students wrote during a portion of their class time as well as outside of school. Sekyra said she could track the students' writing time with a Google doc and was amazed to see that many were writing not only after school and in the evenings, but before school, too.
"This class is just wonderful," said Sekyra.
The imaginative students' novels include titles like "The Secret Life of the New Girl," "Reign of Burgers," "Hurricane Sandy Hits," and "Unicorn War."
Each of the students will be able to have five paperback books published for free through the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program.
Here is a list of Sherri Sekyra's sixth-grade students: