A few weeks ago, I shared that my class was participating in NaNoWriMo (a.k.a. National Novel Writing Month). I had sent away for the free NaNoWriMo resources, and they sent me a set of 30 participant buttons, a poster, and some progress tracking stickers. (See the buttons and stickers in the blurry picture below...It didn't look that blurry on my iPhone...)
I pitched the program on Halloween and told students that anyone who wanted to participate could do so. We planned to meet at lunch on Thursdays to share our writing, but the majority of the NaNoWriMo work would be happening outside of class. I shared my previous experiences with the program, but stressed that participation was purely voluntary. Much to my surprise, 22 out of my 25 students signed up and set great writing goals for themselves (2,000 - 5,500 words).
We started with a great deal of enthusiasm. Almost all of my class came to our first lunch meeting and worked on writing the entire time -- including some of my reluctant writers! I also had several parents asking what I had done with their children because so many of them were coming home and writing for hours after school. Seriously.
Each Thursday, we updated our poster with our word counts. We added a letter spelling N-A-N-O-W-R-I-M-O for every 10% of our goal that we reached. Students who made 100% of their goal put a star sticker at the end. Here's how our poster looked early in the month.
I told students that they could finish writing this weekend since NaNoWriMo didn't officially end until midnight on Friday. I had about half of the students make their goal, and many more decided that even though they had too much going on in November to make their goal, they had great story ideas to continue with in the future. Based on that, I'd call this NaNoWriMo experience an overwhelming success.
Did you participate in NaNoWriMo this year or are you doing other activities to encourage your students to write outside of school? If so, I'd love to hear about it in the comments!
Have a great week!