Thursday, September 15, 2011

Here’s Where I Ask Myself: WTF?!?

A few days ago I learned that one of my co-workers was planning on leading a literacy club for the students at our school. She was going to have them do stuff with books.

Ok, to be honest, we didn’t get into much of her plans because in our classroom, every conversation is odd and difficult to comprehend. For instance:

“You doing Book Club?”
“Don’t know, is this a nine or a five?”
“It’s a five.”
“Well, I’m glad you know your numbers, Karen, but I was asking him.”
“Dude, tell her it’s a five so we can move on here.”
“Stop helping, it’s counter-productive. I can’t do the club. Good, job, you picked five.”
“Are you sure? I think he was having a spasm.”
“You’re not being helpful. Fine, we’ll try another number. Is this a three or a four. Hey! Don’t put my pencil down there.”
“He’s fine, he’s just exploring his world, which seems to be the front of his pants. You want your pencil back?”
“No, I’ll get another one, but you might want to toss that one into the garbage. Are you going to do it?”
“Give me a second, I have to get it from him. Wow, that was loud. I think he’s unhappy.”
“Thanks, but I meant the club. Do you want to do the club?”
“What? I can’t hear you. Wait… play with this instead. The club…no, well, maybe. What were you going to do? Ow! No pinching!”
“I don’t know, read books and talk about them, I guess. I hadn’t given it much thought.”
“That tactic might work on a college campus, but these are middle schoolers. Reading is, hey there, big guy, let’s not grab those, they’re mine.”
“Yeah, that definitely describes middle schoolers.”
“I was referring to my student who seems to be quite enchanted with my boobs.”
“That, too. Um, I smell poop.”
“Well, this has been fun, but now it’s time for me and my prom date here to do recycling. See you later.”
“You are so not helpful.”

Armed with that information, I mulled over the possibility of being the Literacy Club advisor and bagged it. No way. With my luck, I’d get one student to show up and it’s the one who can recite every Harry Potter and/or Twilight book from memory. Or the really brainy kid who has read every classic and can quote Chaucer, Thoreau, and Wolff and we’ll have nothing to talk about.

These Gen. Ed. middle school kids can really scare the shit out of me, you know?

But…writing… Here’s where I think I may have a chance.

NaNoWriMo is coming up. There is a wonderful Young Writer’s Program they’ve developed that really sounds awesome. The best part is it’s free, they have lesson plans that meet Common Core standards (not sure what that means, but it sounds impressive, right?) and at the end, each participant will be able to have their finished manuscript professionally printed and bound.

It’s given me ideas.

I’m not going to call it Literacy Club, because to be honest, I’m not that literate. Besides, I have a feeling the name would scare away anyone like me, you know, the kid who is not well read and would feel kind of dumb listening to people quote from thick books that don’t have cool artwork on the covers.

We’re definitely going to talk about books; we’re going to talk about why we liked some but not others. Then, we’re going to attack NaNoWriMo and write the book we want to read.

I’m calling it the Do It Yourself Book club. Want to read a good book? Write one! We’ll discuss plot, character, twists, and cliff hangers. We’ll play with flash fiction, and I’ll introduce them to Exquisite Corpse poetry. Of course, I must include my favorite game of all, Writer’s Scrabble, where no score is kept, all tiles are used (trading is acceptable and encouraged) and made up words MUST come with a definition and used in a sentence.

There will be writing prompts, and if I’m REALLY lucky, we’ll even attempt some script writing in the Spring. Who knows where that’s going to lead us?

I’ve given myself two weeks to get my act together, because I’d like this club to stay active. Every Thursday for an hour after school, I’ll be there, hoping some students believe in themselves enough to want to listen to that muse and write the story that they think about in their waking moments and, they hope, touches their dreams.


  1. I love the Do It Yourself Book Club. It sounds like a wonderful way to get these students to express their individuality and learn their own writing styles while learning others as well.

    Smarty McSmartypants.

  2. It sounds brilliant. I'm sure your students will love it. I know you will too. Have fun!

  3. that sounds like fun. REally fun. Where were you when I was a middle schooler? Oh. Not born yet. Oh, well... If there is a Heaven (my idea of Heaven isn't quite, well, Biblishly so), then there is a truly special place for teachers who work with and even ENJOY middle school kids. NaNoWriMo is the best. Hope you do it!

  4. Dude, if I was a student at your school, I'd totally be there! Your Do It Yourself Book Club sounds like a riot! =D
    Britt & a few of my friends were in a club along those lines in middle school (before I knew any of them), and they loved it. ^-^
    Best of luck & may this club last & last. ^-^

    Thanks for stopping by & giving me encouragement & strength. I'm feeling less like killing someone today, so I think that this is a sign of things beginning to look up... XD

    Hope you & Tam are doing well, and your kidlets.



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