NaNoWriMo is well underway. We’re off to the races!
By this time, you probably have some students you haven’t started, others who have quit, and the rest are starting to hit a wall. What can you do to help your students and yourself keep going? Keep reading.
In a previous blog post, I mentioned using story cubes, giving permission to write anything, and telling them to add random stuff. Let me give you a few more ideas.
- Read pep talks written by famous writers and fellow NaNites (I don’t know if that’s the right word, but I like it.)
- Connect with others by looking for buddies or visiting the forums (this may be better for adults and older students.)
- Use the Dare Machine on the YWP site. It’s just plain fun. Click on it and see what it dares you to write.
Review the students’ goals. If it seems that they have bitten off way more than they can chew, go ahead and allow a revision of their goals. I like to only allow this once, and only in certain circumstances. You don’t want them changing goals every day. But, sometimes it is very helpful to get them back on track.
Host NaNoWriMo lunches. I show up in a classroom, and those who want to stay bring their lunches into the room. I have tried to use the lunch room, but it got too noisy. During the lunch, I usually talk while they eat. I do a short workshop type idea or even read a picture book. Some days I have objectives, like setting goals or taking about character development. Other times, I just am there to make sure they write. I check in with individuals on those days and play some classical music for those who like it.
Challenge them to writing sprints. When I have my NaNo lunches, I invite kids to do these sprints, but they’re totally voluntary. I set a timer, then they race to see how many words they can write in that time. When the timer goes off, they drop their pencils and count. I give a little prize to whoever wins.
Check in with them. This is really important. For the kids who want to quit, I keep checking even after they say they have quit. For the most excitable students, I keep checking, too. They’ll hit a wall at some point. They need the encouragement. And, their enthusiasm often rubs off on others, including me.
It is a joy to work with students on NaNoWriMo each year. It’s extra work – lots of volunteer hours. The pure enthusiasm of it and the freedom to write anything that pops into their heads – it’s worth it!