Wednesday, November 30, 2011

National Novel Writing Month - The Wagner Report

This is the 5th year I've participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the 5th year I've won! For those not in the know, the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel (or the start of one, since most novels are longer than that) in 30 days (the month of November).

The kids have been participating along with me as part of the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program (YWP) for three years now. This is actually David's fourth year! All of them met their goals this year! WTG kids! I am so proud to see you writing!

Suzy wrote 4,500 words!

James wrote 18,536 words, exceeding his goal of 13,000 words!

Emily wrote 32,311 words, exceeding her goal of 30,000 words!

David participated in the adult challenge this year - he wrote 50,000 words!

Isn't that awesome! I am so excited they've done it again!

How did I get them to do it? Well, I don't assign much other language arts work during NaNoWriMo - no Spelling, no Vocabulary, etc... This year they actually did more language arts than I've required in the past.
Suzy had phonics and reading; Emily and David had their Brit Lit class for co-op (reading and writing assignments), and James and Emily have their Wordsmith (writing class) assignments. James also did his reading assignments. I also did not require any History assignments during the month for anyone. David did not have to do computer programming or ACT prep. Emily did not have to do her Spanish lessons.  If they chose NOT to participate in NaNoWriMo (which is an option), they'd have ALL their regular work.

I also reward them periodically - setting goals at 10%, 20%, 30% and so on. Sometimes small rewards, sometimes larger ones. Even when we've been basically penniless, I was able to offer free or low cost rewards. Some would include computer time, movie rentals (even from the library), sleepovers, chore-free coupons, etc... I was able to offer more lucrative rewards this year, but it's not necessary for participation.

So, basically I bribe them and make it so attractive to participate that NOT participating would be a poor choice. But, hey, it works!

NaNoWriMo YWP has some of the best fiction writing curriculum I've ever seen and it's FREE. You don't have to even participate in NaNo to use it. It would be great in any situation where you'd like to motivate children (elementary through high school) to write fiction. If you go to the website, also check out the Resources and Educators sections. There are lesson plans available, though I haven't used them so I can't vouch for the effectiveness or lack thereof.

Editing will happen in January.  This is the place I usually lose my motivation with the kids. I have a plan in place though; it may or may not include bribery! LOL I'll keep you updated.

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