I saw this great poster on Pinterest and it actually came from ModCloth. I just HAD to have it because not only is the quote perfect, but it is from Neil Gaiman who I adore (and we will be studying next month). ModCloth wasn't offering a print, so I made my own to hang up. I'd really love to buy a high quality print if they ever make it available.
We only have 3 more days of school before we are on our two week fall break! Of course I'm excited, but mostly because I am in need of some good R&R. I'm also excited because that means November is right around the corner, and November means NaNoWriMo! Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? It's only the coolest thing going on in November.
NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month and participants are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days. They also have a Young Writer's Program and two years ago my class and I embarked on this journey. I wrote a 50,000+ word novel and they wrote novels aiming for their own word-count goals. My class and I did it again last year. I can't imagine not doing NaNoWriMo in the classroom. It's full of amazing benefits for the kids. They become more confident and writers. They learn to make achievable goals and write steps to get there. They become more detailed writers. They learn to be persistent. They become more fluent writers. And I could go on and on! Interested? Head over to the Young Writer's Program site. You can order your free classroom kit now!
Before we start NaNoWriMo we spend two weeks preparing. I use the YWP workbooks which are amazing, and free, resources. And here is where the amazing Mr. Neil Gaiman comes in (sidenote: I adore his wife too, and had the pleasure of attending her concert last weekend). If you are unfamiliar with this fabulous writer I suggest you check him out. He writes for adults, young adults, and children. His most well-known books for the upper grades are Coraline (which was made into a movie) and The Graveyard Book which won the Newberry Medal in 2009. When we review plot I read Neil Gaiman's The Wolves in the Walls. It is a lovely, but slightly disturbing, picture book that is just right for the upper grades. It holds their attention and each element of plot is crafted perfectly. The day before we start NaNoWriMo I show the kids the episode of PBS's Arthur that features Neil (called "Falafelosophy") and it's all about becoming a writer. How fitting for the program!
I'll start blogging more about NaNoWriMo in the coming weeks. I'd love to hear from other teachers that use NaNoWriMo in their classrooms and from those that may be trying it out this year!