Nikki's Notebook

My journey as a fiction writer and a place for my projects, writing and otherwise.

Creative writing, jewelry, and clay.

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Today I signed up for a creative writing class through Minneapolis Community Education. We get to take Community Ed classes for free in our AmeriCorps program, which is so nice! I’m hoping that signing up for this class will give me the boost I need to get myself writing regularly. NaNoWriMo in November was good, and I swore that after that I would keep up a regular writing habit, but other things always seem to push it out of the way. I do have to admit that I’m a little nervous for the class. I get nervous sharing my writing with people, or self-conscious, and it wasn’t until my last semester of college that I actually took a creative writing workshop class. Then, I discovered that it wasn’t really that bad. In fact, it was awesome! It motivated me to write and I got lots of great feedback, as well as getting to read other people’s stories, too.

I really like the after school aspect of our AmeriCorps service. At our site, it’s been mostly self-designed. So, each of us in our cluster have gotten to make up our own classes and teach them, with a few exceptions. This session I’m co-leading Jewelry Making for 3rd-5th graders, and so far it’s been great. I got a big bin of assorted plastic beads from Michael’s for today’s class, thinking they were pretty tacky, but maybe the kids would still like them. Well, the kids loved them. And some of them were pretty cute, like dolphin shaped, whales, dogs, flowers, and such. We’ve also been doing friendship bracelets with the kids who are interested. Mostly, the 5th graders have the patience for the friendship bracelets, and the 3rd graders just like to string beads.

The other class I have is “Play with Clay,” which I teach by myself (eek!), with a group of 15 kindergarten-2nd graders. Though I had doubts about my chances of success with the combination of the subject matter and the age range, I felt like I did pretty good the first day of class last week. I want to tell myself that it’s because I’m getting better at managing kids, but things could always go horribly tomorrow! Anyway, my solution has been to over plan. Tomorrow, we are making pinch-bowls out of air-drying clay, and then we will paint them next week. I have already worked out an elaborate system of drawing names for helpers to help lay down newspaper and other tasks. My other secret to a stress-free class is to start cleanup 25 minutes before they have to go to the bus, then have them color until it’s time to go. Every class, my supply of colored pencils gets smaller and uglier-colored. Hmm, how does that happen?

Though stressful at times, I really think after school classes are enriching for me as much as for the kids. Sometimes, as an adult, I forget how fun it can be just to craft for the fun of it, not worrying about perfection or the usefulness of the finished item. Sharing that with the kids and seeing their creativity is a great reward for all the effort.

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Written by nikkinbird

January 21, 2010 at 3:54 am

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