8 Ninth Graders Published in Teen Anthology

Students published in the Adirondack Center for Writing anthology of teen writing Wild Words pose with the book in Saranac Lake (Photo: Mrs. Carmichael).

On Saturday, April 22, the Adirondack Center for Writing launched its Wild Words Anthology, a collection of writings from students in the North Country region, which included eight students from Northwood’s class of ‘26. The book featured works by 70 authors in the North Country region. The works students submitted included poetry (4 students), memoirs (3), and one fictional story.

Mrs. Carmichael, the Dean of Academics and Integrated Humanities I teacher, expressed, “It’s a huge accomplishment—I’m happy with how things worked out and how the publication looks, and I’m very excited for next year.”

Throughout the school year, students in Humanities I focus on six main writing units: poetry, memoirs, and short stories. Each unit consists of two drafts per writing piece and a final version towards the end of the year. During the weeks leading up to the Wild Words Submission, the students did a mini-unit on revision, where they were introduced to six different revision techniques. Once they had picked one writing piece in particular, the students went through multiple revisions before submitting the final version for a grade. Note that the submission to the Wild Words Anthology itself is purely optional.

Revisions, of course, were no easy chores. Each round of revision was a deep delve into the writing itself and not a collection of small changes here and there. In addition, young writers may often feel that the work is most completed during the first draft, and the idea of revision—to throw what they had created away and restart—can hurt and give a sense of fabrication.

However, Mrs. Carmichael greatly values the importance of revisions. “Revision is writing. The first draft is necessarily writing: it’s creativity and sometimes brain dumping. The first draft is trying to articulate a thought or a feeling in a story,” she explained. “Revising a piece of writing reinforces said thoughts and feelings. To me, that is the craft of writing, and it is a challenge to be able to do deep revisions at their age,” she later commented.

Given the two initial iterations alongside the revision unit, students were able to put out expressive yet cohesive pieces of writing. Furthermore, they were allowed to pick any pieces of writing they had created during the year. Mrs. Carmichael attributed this to the engagement of the class, the willingness to go the extra mile to share their works with the broader community, and ultimately the sense of pride that came with what the students had accomplished.

This experience also goes to highlight the Integrated Humanities class at Northwood. As a project-based, double-period course, students are much better supported to create projects than traditional, in-class papers usually assigned in English classes. Also, the course offers connections to the outside world, as shown with the Wild Words Anthology. It is truly remarkable, the possibility of creating works in class that can be read by hundreds of people all over the North Country and beyond.

“I have received messages from many of the parents that, I assume, are very proud of their kids and excited that they had this kind of opportunity,” Mrs. Carmichael remarked.


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