Tuesday, December 4, 2012

NaNoWriMo Results

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.

See how I'm listed there at the end of the list with a 15,000 word count goal? Ha! Didn't quite make it by the end of November, but the students said that I get to attend the final celebration anyway since I'm hosting it. :)

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!


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  2. I did NaNoWriMo for the first time this year. my students were so much more into it than I ever thought they would be! I allowed them to set a goal of 1000 words or higher. I was so impressed with most of my students. Some who have a hard time writing a paragraph, wrote over 1000 words! I also wrote along with them. My goal was 30,000 words. I finished it two days late, but had the finished novel by Dec. 4. Now we just need to find time to revise!

    1. That's incredible, Ivy! I'm so impressed that you were able to tackle the 30,000 words yourself. There was a time (before I had a baby) when I was able to teach all day and write fiction at night, but I did not make it this year. Kudos to you for getting it done! Are you planning to publish your novel?

      I've done NaNoWriMo a few times with classes of 4th and 5th graders, and every year, I'm struck by the students that suddenly feel a connection to writing and start to think of themselves as authors. That absolutely makes it worth it to me.

      Thanks for sharing!


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