Nanowrimo Surprise!


Students in Mr. Fiske and Mrs. LaBoe's classrooms dedicated their Nanowrimo book to me.

Students in Mr. Fiske and Mrs. LaBoe’s classrooms dedicated their Nanowrimo book to me.

Student from Mr. Fiske and Mrs. LaBoe’s class surprised me yesterday. I’m mean really surprised me! Mrs. LaBoe texted me and asked if I’d be in town at all yesterday. Mr. Whitsitt and I had planned to visit our storage unit (yes, we’re one of those couples who moved and stored things until we could think again), so it was a no-brainer to stop by Heritage. I knew something was up when the secretary asked why I was in the building. Nancy never asks why, she already knows! I told her Mrs. LaBoe had summoned me for a surprise. A knowing look glimmered in Nancy’s eyes. She knew all about the surprise. She even asked me if I cry easily.

Well, yes! My name is Claudia Whitsitt!

When we reached the classroom, the kids were studying systems of the human body and nothing seemed amiss, so I remained completely stumped. I waited until they were finished learning about the electrical impulses that keep the heart beating, then was called to the front of the room. Three students, each with a speech prepared, explained that they had decided to dedicate their published Nanowrimo projects to me! I can tell you something for sure; they jump-started my heart!

The second of the two books created by the Fiske/LaBoe team.

One of the two books created by the Fiske/LaBoe team.

The dedication reads, “Dedicated to Mrs. Claudia Whitsitt. Thank you for encouraging us an motivating us to write our first novels. We could not have done it without your support.”

I immediately teared up when I read the dedication and heard the story. Students had overwhelmingly shouted my name when Mrs. LaBoe asked for ideas for the dedication. I love working with these students, and the creativity they show in their writing is a testament to their awesome writing teacher, Mrs. Lori LaBoe, who provides them with the time and support, to say nothing of the skill she has in teaching them the craft!

One of the published books from the Fiske/LaBoe team.

Another of the published books from the Fiske/LaBoe team. Each book contains cover art and a synopsis of their fiction project.

One of the things that often crosses my mind, because, I too, was once a fifth grader who wanted to be an author, is the awesome opportunities with which these students are provided. They understand structure, action, dialogue, character arc, point of view and countless other elements in a way that I never understood at their tender ages. Heck, I struggled to learn many of them over the past decade or so. The opportunities these students have astound me. I expect we will be readers of great fiction from these young writers, and I want to shout out a huge THANK YOU to them for letting me be a small part of that process.

Thanks, too, to Mrs. Lori LaBoe, for her endless support of my work. It truly takes a village.

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Honorable Mention for Between the LinesLinnea is a talented 5th grade writer. We had a blast working on her scene.