Just when you think your class is all ready for NaNoWriMo, you look at the calendar and realize it starts tomorrow! It’s October 31, and you wonder what exactly you need to do before tomorrow.
First, check the checklist I had on my last NaNoWriMo blog post. Don’t do all that in one day. But, it may give you some ideas if you find yourself with free time and eager students.
Then, your main job is to motivate and encourage. As long as they have notebooks and pencils, they really are ready. They don’t need lots of plotting and writing lessons. They need your support. Pump them up on October 31st. Tell them how excited you are for them. Tell them how you are planning to support them during November.
- Will you have writing challenges?
- Will you give them rewards when they reach each percentage of their goal?
- Are you going to join in and write with them?
- What if they feel like it’s just too hard? What should they do?
Also, let them ask questions. Maybe you thought you told them that this isn’t graded, but they weren’t listening. This is the time to answer all those questions.
Allow them to share. At this point, most of those little writing brains are ready to burst. They have ideas just leaking out all over. Get together and have each student share 30 seconds’ worth of their story idea. Set a timer, because I can almost guarantee that they’ll want to go on and on and on. Those students who don’t have ideas will certainly get one after listening to the others.
As they leave school that day, wish them well. Tell them to put the notebooks and pencils next to their pillows. They can start as soon as they wake up on November 1. Many will!
This year, November 1 is on a Saturday, so you don’t have to do a thing, unless you are also doing NaNoWriMo. Then, you’d better get writing! If November 1 falls on a school day, be sure to ask each of the participants how many words they wrote already. If they give you any number at all, give them a high five and celebrate. If they haven’t had time or energy enough to write yet, then see if you can help them sneak time during the day. The first day is often the most exciting, but it can often be a little scary. Your job is to get them to write anything at all. Once they get started, it won’t be so hard to keep going.
Are you ready?