English 123 is a pop-up writing community. We will focus on creating: that refers first, of course, to our stories, but also on creating the culture of an editorial and workshop group focused on collaboration and excellence. We also dip into communities around us, asking kids for critique, editing their work, sharing literary events with them. Like all writers, we write in the context of these communities—and from our own childhoods. We write, revise, delete, flush, try again. Returning to class with revisions will be a promise fulfilled, and an important marker in the literary life of everyone involved. When stories are ready, you will be invited to submit them to our editor at SafeKidsStories.com, yet another overlapping writing community.
At the end of the term, the azaleas will be in bloom, and you will have at least six good pieces of work, four substantive. You'll be graded on your portfolio; we will negotiate credit for additions to the writing, such as illustrations and multimedia. I'll also take into page-count consideration age levels and genre and your critiques and editing of other student-writers' work. We reach for freshness, and to develop initiative to keep going: cutting, researching, rewriting, risking enough to turn perfectly nice classroom prose into art. Writers come into class wondering whether we're good enough. My question to you is: Are you hungry enough?