I saw the A day kids again this week. I know how hard it is to come back to school after being on break and getting back into the working mode, so I thought we would start off the day with some "book chat" which pretty much just turned into all of the kids talking at once about their respective breaks. Not that I think they remember how our last meeting ended, but I think I am still trying to redeem myself after I came down hard on them for being disruptive and off task a couple of weeks ago.
I had marked up the papers from before spring break and I have to say I was very impressed with a couple of the plays. One girl in particular expressed to me that she writes plays on her own time outside of school, which I thought was really ambitious and cool. The majority of the kids however did struggle with writing dialogue. A lot of them were still writing in prose format, but at least everyone had an idea written down on paper. I handed back the papers and decided to stage individual conferences in the back to go over the notes I had given them, talk to them personally about their writing process, and give the kids who really care about their plays the opportunity to ask questions that they may otherwise be embarrassed to ask in front of the class. I didn't get to everybody, but those kids I did sit and talk with seemed to have a clear vision where their play was going, and appeared to be comfortable with the assignment.
The class still had some discipline problems, but in all I have to say they worked hard and I have a whole new stack of papers to look at for next time. It sounds like they want to try to do workshops, but I am not convinced that the productive time wouldn't turn into social hour so I am going to have to think about that. It is too bad because I think peer feedback could be really beneficial. I did give the kids a little incentive for finishing their plays: an end of the year open mic party where we could share/ act out some of the finished products. They liked the sound of that. Hey, anything to keep them writing, right?