This is the first year since 2003 that I will not be teaching NaNoWriMo in the classroom. What’s good about this is it frees me up to do it with a whole bunch of area students. I have posted a new program description for our fun, exciting adventure to come.
Here are a few details not included in the program description page:
Each student will get to set his or her own word count goal, usually with some consultation with me. That goal can be fairly flexible to a point in November. The idea of the program is to write as many words in a story form as possible, creating fluency and breaking self-imposed limitations of what we think we can do. The important point is to meet the goal. Editing and improvements can happen later.
As a several-time NaNoWriMo participant and winner, I am in a good position to empathize with the struggles and triumphs of this challenge. I also write alongside the students, so rather than a taskmaster, I am a fellow writer and friend. We inspire each other.
Last year, with my amazing class, they did so well and were so prolific that I had to find new ways to encourage them to continue as they surpassed, then doubled, then tripled their original goals. Everyone surprised themselves, and me. I finally challenged them to a race, and the first person (me) or group (them) would win a prize from the other. It was neck and neck until the very last day, when the group emerged victorious. I treated them all to hot cocoa at the local coffee shop a few days later.
An added dimension this year is that I am working with the YWP to develop teacher training, so even more students can experience the joy, delight and struggles of this roller coaster ride. I welcome contact from teachers who are interested in finding out what it can do for your students.