A while back, my sister-in-law sent along a link to novel-writing curriculum created by a homeschooling mom (you can read about that curriculum at "Little Blue School" blog). Since my job involves after-school education and arts programs, and since I already teach children how to write essays and poetry, I immediately visited the site and downloaded the material.
And, as usual, I've had to adapt it to fit the fidgety and not-always-present group of kids at the Club. They are enthusiastic participants, but instead of the steady six kids that I need to arrive every week, I may have three who are regulars and attend every session, and others who might or might not be on the roster but who see everyone else having fun and want to join, too.
So, in the interest of literacy, I let them. Sure, I might have some nine-year-old kids staring wide-eyed at the word "genre" while seven-year-olds raise their hands and shout out the definition, but that's all good. They're being exposed to terms and methods they'll need when they're older.
Due to the nature of the Club -- it isn't school, so the schedule's loose -- and of the kids themselves, we need two or three sessions per topic in order to get everything done. Yesterday marked the second session on "Hero", in which the kids created a physical appearance for the hero of their story, and listed traits they think a perfect hero should have. Next time, we'll discuss why any interesting hero also has flaws.
So far, we have heroes ranging from FBI agents to Johnny Appleseed, and the selected genres tend to be mystery and action/adventure, but fantasy and science fiction also figure prominently.
Meantime, the participants have no problem revealing the "secret" name they chose for this novel-writing club: The Secret Merekat Dog Star Kitten Sparkle Conspiracy Noveling Club. Say that ten times fast.