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Do You Know NaNoWriMo?
November is National Novel Writing Month!
What do you think of when you consider November? Stocktaking? Men sprouting moustaches? Your last chance to hit the mall before the holiday madness?
For thousands of people around the world November is all about one thing: writing a novel in a month. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo to those in the know) and it offers some fabulous opportunities for your students who love to write.
Adults who participate are trying to complete a rough draft of a novel at least 50,000 words long. It sounds crazy, but bestsellers like Water for Elephants and current buzz book The Night Circus began as NaNoWriMo projects. (You don’t have to write about a circus, but apparently it helps.)
Young writers are free to set their own word count, so don’t let the idea of doing 50,000 words paralyse your little Year 7 student who is working on her pony club mystery. In fact, there is an entire Young Writers Program designed to get kids writing with resources for students of all ages, teachers and librarians.
Students sign up and put in their word count goals. Throughout the month they will have access to Pep Talks by authors like Ally Condie, Gayle Forman and Christopher Paolini (who wrote the first draft of Eragon when he was 15).
They can also download writing workbooks aimed at Elementary School, Middle School or High School. I highly recommend that you educators take a look at these! They have some wonderful exercises and ideas for teaching writing, whether you choose to do NaNoWriMo or not. Teachers and librarians should also check out the Lesson Plans and Classroom Kits.
One of the most interesting features for educators is the Virtual Classroom. You create a classroom and add your students’ names, then use the space to post announcements and links, send emails, lead discussions and track progress.
This is a wonderful opportunity to extend writers of all ages in your school. The virtual classroom makes it easy to include students from many different classes without having to find times that all of them can meet face to face. The deadline, ability to connect with other young writers and spirit of fun that the Young Writers Program bring all come together to build up a fantastic buzz around writing (and reading) that will carry on long after November is over.
Have you ever participated in National Novel Writing Month? Do you have any students who might enjoy it?
Image: Web Badges can be found here: http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/badges
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