Throughout November, seventh graders have written every day, following outlines they'd created in October with the goal of producing first drafts of complete novels by December.
This week is the final push.
Tuesday morning, their teacher showed them pep talk videos from Toni Morrison, Alex London and Kwame Alexander, this year's Karla Harry Visiting Author.
Then the students took ten minutes to collaborate on pep talks of their own, paired up with their novel buddies, classmates who have served as first readers and sounding boards all month long.
One of them explained the novel as the culmination of lessons that began in Gordon's first grade.
All of them talked about the importance of persistence.
And every video captured their growing ability, after a month of daily writing, to wrangle words on the fly and build them into thoughtful, confident ideas.