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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Thursday, December 01, 2011


* National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated

by folkbum

A rough estimate: In November, I wrote about 40,000 words, but not one of them toward a novel.

The vast bulk of those words I wrote to students, as feedback on their writing, directions for assignments, rubrics, mentor texts to use as models--much of that while perched at the counter of my favorite local coffee shop on weeknights and weekends because I teach all day, not grade or plan.

A lot of words showed up in emails to my students; emails to parents, counselors, other teachers, administrators, or social workers about my students; administrative referrals or other documentation on the behavior of my students; one looooong form for the state Wisconsin about a student; and four letters of recommendation for students.

There were a lot of words in lesson plans, on anchor charts, for my word walls. Words written for collaborative planning with my department. Words written trying to figure out how to resurrect my school's student newspaper.

Words written on this blog in defense of teachers, in praise of unions, in criticism of my district or legislators or other commentators who get it wrong. Words written for the Bay View Compass about my school district and its technology, plus the interview notes and emails and rough drafts and false starts. Words written on Twitter and Facebook and in comments to other people's blogs about teaching, learning, union-ing, and trying to make a difference in Scott Walker's Wisconsin. Words written about a possible new online collaboration.

(I am not counting the Words with Friends.)

Four words--my name, twice--on two recall petitions.

But not a word toward a novel.

I know some people who did that, who started or tried to start a novel or some other creative writing task. I just didn't get to it.

Well, there's always next November--unless I'm still teaching, in which case I will probably have more important words to write.

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