Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the category “GED”

Writers at Play: The Lucky 7 Meme

I mentioned in an earlier blog (They Laughed When I Started to Twitter) that writers have fun tweeting and blogging. Of course, sometimes these distractions keep us from doing what we should be doing.  Or maybe we just, plain and simple, procrastinate. Whatever.

The Lucky 7 Meme is one good example of the fun we have. Well,  Elaine Smothers (www.elainesmothers.wordpress.com) calls the Lucky 7 Meme a zombie virus, but no matter. And though this is supposed to be lucky, my personal Writer Troll thought otherwise. (Read more about the Writer Troll on Myndi Shafer’s blog- www.myndishafer.wordpress.com.) With the Troll’s help, WordPress hiccupped and produced seven non-identical draft versions of this post on my dashboard! Lucky me. I had to sort through the unlucky seven to find the latest version. Fooled him though. I found it.

Special thanks to Judythe Morgan (www.judythewriter.wordpress.com)  for the Lucky 7 Meme nomination!

Here are the game rules for Lucky 7 Meme:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS/WIP.

2. Go to line 7.

3. Copy the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs, and post them as they’re written.

4. If your WIP doesn’t have 77 pages, you can post 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs from page 7.

5. Tag 7 other writers and let them know.

So far in the Lucky 7 Meme event, I have read well-written, attention-getting excerpts from novels of my writer friends. But alas, I do not write crime novels, murder mysteries, historical fiction, memoirs,  romance, westerns, YA, or kidlit.

I write nonfiction about (are you ready for this?) teaching writing and grammar to struggling and unmotivated students! How’s that for excitement, mystery, intrique, danger, romance, inspiration, or whatever?

Yes, I teach students with learning disabilities, behavior and emotional problems, and even drug and alcohol problems. Some of these students are high school dropouts. Some have zero or less interest in education and routinely challenge the purpose behind assignments. “Why do we have to do this?”  Others don’t mind writing; it’s the revising and editing they don’t like.

Some want to take the GED (General Educational Development-high school equvalency test), and for this they must write an essay and complete a multiple-choice test on writing conventions. They must also take tests in reading, math, science, and social studies. By the time they get ready to take the GED, they know they need help!

The pages of my WIP are not numbered yet. Rather I have them in chapters printed out in notebooks. Here is an excerpt that comes from page 7. The working title is Grammar You Can See: Strategies for Helping Struggling and Unmotivated Students. My sister, Judie Rush, my biggest fan and director of a local GED program, keeps bugging me about when “The Book” will be finished, but I manage to avoid commitment each time she asks. One of these days, I promise. But right now I have to break up this nasty argument between the Lucky 7 Meme and my Writer Troll. Why can’t they get along?

***

“Noun? What’s a noun?”  Paul asks.

Paul, a thirty-year-old high school dropout, drifted through elementary and junior high, then quit high school at his first opportunity. Now, as an adult with young children of his own, he is determined to give himself (and his children) a better life, so he has enrolled in a school district-sponsored GED prep program that’s hidden in the dimly-lit basement of the local library. He meets almost daily with twenty or more dropouts (some teens, some adults in their 20s, 30s, or 40s, and one in his 60s!) to work individually or in small groups on basic reading, writing, and math skills.

Some of these students come voluntarily, eager to improve their skills, to advance their educational and professional goals, and to obtain better paying jobs. Others attend because they must: the local judicial court system and social welfare services require their attendance. Regardless of their reason for joining the GED program, these students works quietly and independently, making gradual, but steady improvement in their academic performance–a total contrast to the time they admit they wasted in high school.

The GED writing test is a major hurdle for Paul whose simple, bare-bones paragraphs have so many sentence fragments, run-ons, verb tense agreement errors, and misspellings that his good ideas get lost in the jumble. To make matters worse, he has no interest in revising any of his work. “One and done” is his motto. And the multiple-choice questions related to writing conventions? Forget it!

***

Now to name seven other Lucky Memers:

M. J. Monaghan      www.mjmonaghan.com

Linda Adams          www.Linda-Adams.com

Helen McMullin    www.conantstation.com

S. J. Driscoll             http://sjdriscoll.com

Emmie Mears          http://emmiemears.com

Jacqui Talbot              www.justjacqui2.com

Lanita Bradley Boyd     http://lanitaboyd.com

Have fun meeting these bloggers. I have already enjoyed reading their blogs!

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