For Class I students at Winsor, the school year is filled with firsts. But perhaps the most anticipated is the annual Authors' Breakfast, held this year on May 24 and 25, 2017.
Standing in front of family and faculty, poised and confident, each student shared her favorite pieces written during the year, explaining why she chose them, what inspired her writing, and the literary tools she employed. With voices strong and clear, the girls revealed the authors they have become, and left the audience wanting to hear more.
"I chose these pieces not only because I like how they sound, but because of the the challenge they presented and how they became a memorable accomplishment," shared Beatrix Picotte '24. Following her own poetry readings, Annabel McKenzie '24 noted, "I like poetry because it's a way to describe emotions you have. You don't need to worry about the words you use. You just get the feeling of them."
English teacher Lisa Stringfellow worked with the girls on their writing all year and says she loves teaching Class I because "the students are so enthusiastic! They are sponges for ideas and they take off with just a little encouragement. They also encourage each other with feedback and kind words."
In addition to the writing done throughout the year as part English I, this is the second year Winsor Class I students have participated in the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program. The Program, which takes place during the month of November, promotes writing fluency, creative education, and the sheer joy of novel-writing in K-12 classrooms.
"The focus of the program is helping students to unleash their creativity. They can write about anything they chose, and we talk about favorite books that might serve as models for their writer's craft."
To keep the task of writing a novel from becoming too overwhelming, "students were told not to worry about grammar, mechanics, or editing as they wrote. Those are important, but they tend to inhibit creativity during drafting. Instead, we left that work until we began the revision process after November." The girls also learned to write query letters and researched agents who look for aspiring young novelists.
The Class posted their query letters and short novel excerpts on a class blog, and have been sharing the link online and tagging their favorite authors. "The girls have received feedback from professionals and published authors, which is so exciting. One student even received an autographed book from the author of the book she used as her writing mentor."
Following the girls impressive presentations at the Authors' Breakfast, Stringfellow added, "I am very proud of the students' ability to revise and reflect on their work. They were able to put the metacognitive skills we've talked all year to work in examining their growth as writers, and they practiced and displayed important public speaking skills."
When asked if they plan to pursue the publication of their work, more than a few girls shared that this is definitely just the beginning. After all "a lot of successful writers have books that started as NaNoWriMo books. That's inspiring," said Meg Madison '24.