Seniors Mentor Sixth Grade Buddies’ Novel Writing Project

Hall of Stories- 6th grade novel projectUpdate: The Hall of Stories
The sixth graders, as part of Michelle Beske’s English class, wrote their first novels. The students wrote as much as possible, every day, for 30 consecutive days (inspired by “Nanowrimo,” the national novel writing month that takes place every November). Their stories were then edited by the high school creative writing students. They took great pride in their stories and submitted all them to Robyn Pearson who compiled them into a book which is available on Amazon’s print-on-demand service.
Denali and Saniya - 6th grade novel project
This compilation brings together all of their hard work, including their art, into a book with assorted tales of intrigue, murder, sorcery and friendship.

Click to order paperback or Kindle copies

Want to see the power of a vibrant learning community in action? It’s an everyday occurrence at Mount Madonna School (MMS)! High school English and creative writing teacher Haley Campbell described a recent writing workshop, where senior class creative writing students engaged with middle school students for a creative writing workshop.

Tyler and Sofia - 6th grade novel project “A couple months ago sixth grade English [and middle school history] teacher Michelle Beske asked me if the students from one of my creative writing classes could help workshop the sixth graders’ novels,” explained Campbell. “We put our heads together to design a workshop process, and the seniors have been reading the sixth graders’ stories in preparation. Then, on a recent afternoon, both groups came together for the workshop. It was so beautiful. The seniors were excellent mentors – I was so proud of their ability to teach writing craft and lovingly guide the younger students, and the sixth graders just ate it up! Michelle and I were tearing up as we wandered around witnessing the process!”

“This particular sixth grade creative writing effort was part of ‘Nanowrimo,’ the national novel writing month that took place in November,” explained Beske. “Because of my students’ very full schedules, including preparations for their play last December, we postponed their work on this project until more recently. Students spent a number of days preparing (developing characters, and planning plot, etc) then wrote as much as possible for 30 consecutive days beginning in February.
Addy and Ethan - 6th grade novel project
“The sixth graders at MMS flexed their imaginations as they dove into the creative world of authoring novels,” observed Director of Middle School Lisa Catterall. “When they finished their first week of daily novel writing, they were treated to a workshop by author Kathleen Founds (When Mystical Creatures Attack). Founds guided the students through various exercises to inspire creativity and unblock writers’ block. By the end of the hour they spent with Founds, the students could not wait to get to their Chromebooks and laptops and get to work on their stories.

“Only at a school with the freedom to present independent curriculum could sixth graders have a chance to write a novel in English class,” Catterall continued. “Is there a better way to set the stage for appreciation of great literary works? This project adds to a broader goal in the world of education for this generation of creating innovators and confident, capable contributors to our society, and I noticed that the ambitious scope of the project has the students fired-up about writing.”
Group editing - 6th grade novel project
“They took it all very seriously and worked so very hard,” agreed Beske. “The students gave each other feedback and made revisions even before they worked with the seniors. Now, they are taking the feedback and notes from meeting with the seniors and revising their stories some more. The tenacity and persistence of this group is impressive; they really care deeply about this project.”