A Parent’s Guide to National Novel Writing Month

Greetings, parents! If your child is in grades 2-8, they will be setting off on an exciting adventure in just a few days’ time. National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, kicks off this Sunday, and I couldn’t be more excited!

This is our school’s second year participating.  National Novel Writing Month is just what it sounds like. Our students are each planning to write their own book in a month. We’ve spent the last several weeks working with writing prompts and practicing finding the keys on the keyboard, and we’re oh, so ready for prime time.

Dottie is ready to write the epic adventures of a chicken biscuit.

Dottie is ready to write the epic adventures of a chicken biscuit.

Important points:

  • Students set their own word goal (with a little help from me). The novel writing program for adults has a mandatory minimum goal of 50,000 words. The Young Writer’s Program allows students to set their own goal. We’re setting the goal based on each student’s past performance in timed writing, so every student’s individual goal will be different. I want them to have fun and challenge themselves, but I don’t want them to run into a brick wall. We’ll re-evaluate their goals weekly.
  • Students who meet their word goals each week will get a small prize. I’ve been stocking up on little incentives to share with the students, and I’ve got some pretty fun stuff.
  • Students who meet a goal of 10,000 words have the opportunity to have their books published! We had five finishers last year, and they each had the pleasure of seeing their work published. This goal is a challenge because we only meet once per week. To achieve 10,000 words, they will need to write outside of class.
  • Students in grades 4-8 have their own email address and can access their story via Google Docs anywhere they can get to their email. To access their email, go to Gmail.com and type in their email address and password (if they think they don’t know their password, it’s the same one they use to log onto their account at school each week).
  • For those who have limited internet access, handwriting outside of class is perfectly acceptable. I will happily type up the handwritten portion for any student who hits 10,000 words.
  • Students may begin their stories early, but the only words that count toward the 10,000 goal MUST be written between November 1 and November 30. This isn’t my rule, it’s the official NaNoWriMo rule.
  • Students in each class who write the most words between Nov 1 and Nov 5 (our first official class after the start of NaNo) will receive a small prize.
  • The student with the highest word count during the month of November gets the most awesome prize of all – they get to choose the hot lunch menu for a day. Students are already planning for their win!
  • Students may sign up for the Young Writers Program at home and keep up with their word goal there if they like. Students who do so are invited to sign up for my virtual classroom.
  • Former students are cordially invited to write along with us. I’ll help any alumni who hit 10K get published.
  • Here’s the big one. Spelling doesn’t count! The name of the game is to get those words on the page, and editing just slows us down. We’ll fix our books up this winter and make them nice and shiny. For now, the count is what we care about. I do encourage students to use punctuation because it’s hard to add in later, but I don’t make it mandatory.
  • Any parents and staff who want to write along with us are welcome. You can sign up here.

If you have any questions, send me a FastDirect with an “urgent message” notification. My FD sometimes eats messages.

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This entry was posted in computers, education, fourth grade, internet, kids, middle school, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, second grade, third grade. Bookmark the permalink.

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