I’m teaching a 5-week writing class at the Coralville library again this summer. I’ve been doing this the last several years. I taught the first year, then did an informal critique group kind of thing after that (since it was the same kids who kept coming back year after year — they even started their own online magazine, which you can see here: The Leaky Pen…check out the “disclaimer”…it’s hilarious!). But that first group of kids is graduating now, so we (the teen librarian and I) decided it was time to offer the formal class again.

The first time I did it, we offered it to high school students only (because I was really doing it for College Student…College Student was on the library’s teen advisory board and he thought there needed to be programming available to JUST high school students…plus he liked to write). But this time we opened it up to rising 7th and 8th graders, too. Wow. There’s a big difference between a rising 7th grader and a 12th grader! Difference in what they can absorb, difference in subjects they’re writing about etc. (I know…Duh!)

I’ve only got three high school students this time (one is a repeat customer), so I’ve been gearing more toward the junior high kids. But it looks like I’m going to lose one of the high school students. He was so nice and polite about it, though. He actually thanked me for offering the class. And I think I’m losing one of my seventh graders who took a more in-depth class from me at the University’s summer program for gifted kids last summer, too. I’m not surprised — the class I taught last summer was a total of 30 hours (3 hours a day, every day for 2 weeks)…this one is only 5 hours (one hour a week for 5 weeks). So it’s a very watered down version of what I did last summer. But she’s SUCH a talented writer that I really hate to lose her.

So I got to thinking…I should maybe do something different next summer (assuming the library keeps asking me back…). Maybe I should offer a 5-week elements of mystery writing class? (i.e. ALL NEW STUFF!!!) That might be fun. I want to keep these kids coming back. Since they’re younger than my other group, I don’t know if they’re going to want to keep meeting during the school year and keep the Leaky Pen going or not…maybe they will? But if not, offering something new next summer would be a good idea.


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