Tuesday, October 11, 2016

NaNoWriMo is Coming!

Happy fall everyone!  The weather is finally cooling down and I am so excited to start baking pumpkin stuff and eating soup with crusty bread.  It is one of my favorite times of the year.  As I was looking at ideas for lessons this year I started to think about National Novel Writing Month.  Another librarian told me that she did NaNoWriMo with her students and they loved it.  A few weeks ago I decided to visit the website for NaNoWriMo.  I was so excited by what I found!

If you're thinking it's too early to start thinking about lessons in November - think again!  The NaNoWriMo site has tons of lessons to get you started in October.  As I had been considering celebrating in November I wanted to have this not only be a writing project, but a chance for students to learn about the writing process, how books get published, and how to think of themselves as authors.  The idea of fitting all of that into November seemed crazy!  Luckily the NaNoWriMo site has lessons to help students start their stories in October.  Throughout this month we will be planning out our books, then begin writing the stories when November starts.

When I did the first lesson to tell students about NaNoWriMo only one or two had heard of it.  I had a range of emotions from my students.  Some were excited, some were nervous, and others were unhappy that I am "making them be authors".  Now two weeks into the lessons my students seem to really be enjoying it!  This week we have been coming up with our main characters and it has been so much fun to see their creativity!  The thing I am loving about this unit is that I can cover the writing process, author thinking, and story elements all at once.  Plus the kids are so proud of their ideas and love sharing them with their friends.

In planning this unit I thought a lot about what I wanted to accomplish.  In the end I want students to see the writing process and flex their creative writing skills in a fun, relaxing environment.  After coming up with these goals I decided to make a few changes to the usual NaNoWriMo routine.  I am allowing my students to do a novel, picture book, comic book, or play for their story.  I am also not requiring them to sign up online, but I will show them how to sign up if they want.  For writing I am going to give them choices to use pencil and paper, Word documents, or even Storybird.  Many students were asking whether they could use Storybird and were so excited to find out they could.

Head on over to the NaNoWriMo website and check it out for yourself.  They will be moving to a new website next week so make sure to save anything you want to use and sign up for a notification when the switch happens.  Have you done NaNoWriMo with your students?  Have some ideas to get them excited?  Share them below!

Until next time, happy reading!

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