|Ruth and Stacey at Two Writing Teachers
host the Slice of Life every Tuesday.
Here is something that I am celebrating this week:
Last week, my students begged to be able to write. This is the second year that I have participated in NaNoWriMo and I absolutely love the experience! I knew that my students needed time to prewrite and prepare for this month so all through October we worked on developing characters and plot.
NaNoWriMo for adults means trying to write 50,000 words in the month. For students, the word count goal is a self-selected number. Using this chart, I set the requirements for my 8th graders. They are required to set a goal between 3,000 and 10,000 words, if not higher. We use the Word Count Goal Calculator on the Young Writers Program website to prove to students that they will be able to write that amount of words. I love the way that some students challenge themselves with a higher word count goal than they are required to have.
Once November starts, I set aside at least 2 class periods a week for novel writing. By having students work so much on prewriting in October, I was able to build up their anticipation for NaNoWriMo. On November 1st, students were silent and writing. And every day since the students have begged for writing time and cheered when I told them it was a noveling day. I also offered after school sessions for students who might want to come write. I was blown away that there were 18 students who signed up for these sessions. So far, we have spent three separate days after school until 5pm. Driving home from school after these sessions, I feel so amazing. I love that I have students who are enjoying writing so much.
Last year, NaNoWriMo was the number one thing that my students wrote about on my end of the year survey. They LOVED the experience. This year my students are even more enthusiastic about this experience. I would not have believed that this would be such a popular writing activity if I had not tried it.
Although I love NaNoWriMo as a class activity, I have realized that NaNoWriMo does not work for me. I have not spent enough time doing the work to plan out my novels. I have the ideas but when I sit down to write, I just don’t have enough. I am learning that I am the kind of writer that needs to have plans and outlines. The quick turnaround time of NaNoWriMo does not allow for this outlining and planning. Even though I am not loving what is coming out, I am working on a draft so that I can celebrate my word count with my students.