Sunday, October 31, 2010
Instead of teaching an adult education program at Brevard College this semester, I've been volunteering at Brevard Middle School, working with 7th & 8th graders who are "enrichment" students. The 20 student class is an Art/Writing group, working on Life Books. I introduced them to an internet site, Wordle.net, where you paste a story you've written and saved in your documents into the sites "box" and hit GO. The words come out jumbled by size....largest being the words you used most frequently. Poets & Writers touted this site for writers, showing the writer which words they most frequently used in their work. For instance, if you have lots of similes in a story, the word "like" would come up larger than other words.
What made it so much fun for the class members was doing this with the various fonts and COLOR. The site provides color selections and font selections. As a writer of fiction or non-fiction, it's a quick way to check your chapters or stories for word over-use.
It has been wonderful to see the work these young people produce and to learn they've been writing and drawing "forever", as one student told me. She has written 12 short books and writes every night. She is one among many who want to further their education in the Arts and have the full support of their parents. They speak to me of visiting colleges and selected careers, family discussions of their futures and the need to learn. They have lifted me through their work and their attitudes. Our group is considering a writing competition for 8th graders, offering 1st, 2nd & 3rd place certificate recognition and monetary prizes. This must be approved by the school and submission rules are yet to be written. Transylvania writers are at work!
Thanks, Nancy. The gift of your talents will be long-lasting with these children. Most of us have had mentors who helped us get where we are today with our writing successes. The most generous writers seem to be the most successful.
Nancy has published numerous short stories and essays in magazines and anthologies. She leads a writing group, Wordsmiths, and teaches at Brevard College.