NaNoWriMo Editing Checklist

This editing checklist is for my fifth grade authors and peer editors as they prepare their novels for publication in a class anthology. We’ve covered a lot of this in class (pause while I dash off to add “a lot” to the checklist!*). The rest, I’ll teach in mini-lessons on editing days.

Some of it is basic, such as plot structure, simple character development, and formatting. Others, well… After years of editing student novels, let’s just say that everyone has stuff they get picky about. Mine include “thought to myself” (as opposed to what?) overuse of “and then,” and awkward synonyms for “said.” Feel free to copy these documents and replace my pet peeves with your own.

Best wishes, happy editing, and DFTBA!

NaNoWriMo Editing Checklist

*If you’re looking for a memorable way to teach your students that “a lot” is two words, check out this brilliant post over at Hyperbole and a Half. Kids can draw their own Alots. Super cool.

Novel Writing and Math

Good news: I met my word count goal for Day 1 of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Woo hoo! My story is a time travel romance set in World War II Bletchley Park, and yes, Alan Turing will make a guest appearance.

I always have my students set up the elements of their plot before they begin. In honor of my mathematical setting, I have renamed my own plot elements as follows:

  • Beginning = Defining the Variables
  • Inciting Incident = Reality Is a Special Case
  • Rising Action = Problem Sets
  • Climax = Limit
  • Falling Action = Proof
  • Resolution = QED

Wishing a great November to all the NaNoWriMo authors out there! We’ve got this!

Dear Common Core English Standards: Can we talk?

Yes! My job is to educate all the children in my classroom, with their diverse interests and future plans. I know they won’t all pursue careers in science, yet I try to get them to like and appreciate science, hoping that at the very least they’ll keep this in mind when they become adult citizens and voters. Reading and writing are meaningful creative outlets as well as ways to connect to the world and to other people — especially in our increasingly digital world. While close reading and literary analysis can help a reader make those connections, they don’t have to be the end goal.

Daniel Katz, Ph.D.

Back in 1993, when I had barely been teaching in my own high school English classroom for a month, I had an epiphany.  I looked around my classroom of ninth graders and realized, consciously, that they were not all going to become high school English teachers.  As epiphanies go, I admit that does not sound exceptional, but it was actually foundational for the rest of my career in education.  The reason for this was that I simultaneously realized that I was teaching English because of the lifelong qualitative relationship that I had with reading and writing in English.  My father probably read “Oscar the Otter” to me every night for a month when I was four.  As a young reader, I often wondered if I would ever have a friend as cool as Encyclopedia Brown’s sidekick, Sally Kimball.  Later, I was positive that I found a lifelong friend in Charles…

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NaNoWriMo Is Coming!

NaNoWriMo teachers: The 2014 classroom noveling kits are here! If you haven’t tried NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) with your students yet, I highly recommend it! It is the most empowering, exhilarating, motivating activity you could possibly dream of bringing to the classroom. I have done it for four years with my fourth through sixth grade students, and I look forward to it with excitement every November. It comes with free lesson plans and support for teachers, but it is flexible enough to fit in with your own teaching style. Visit the Young Writers Program website for more information. As they say, the world needs your stories!