What is NaNoWriMo?!? NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month! Taking place every November since 1999, it is a challenge to would-be writers of all ages, including students. The adult challenge is to begin a novel on November 1 and have a 50,000-word novel by the end of the month. The young writers’ version challenges young writers to draft an entire novel in just one month and then participate in a variety of smaller writing challenges throughout the year.
Writing is a skill that all students need, and creative writing is a skill that can change students’ lives. Creative writing promotes self-expression and imagination, improves communication and empathy, builds confidence, and helps students become better writers. Bringing the NaNoWriMo young writers’ challenge to your classroom is an easy-to-implement and fun way to get your students writing. There are many resources for teachers preparing to take on NaNoWriMo. The NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program offers a wide variety of resources, from lesson plans to workbooks to free classroom kits. The NaNoWriMo Classroom website by Laura Bradley provides everything you need to implement the program step by step. In addition, there are tips and tricks for teachers, a podcast by fifth graders with tips and tricks for students, and even an article discussing how to implement NaNoWriMo in a foreign language classroom!
Not ready to have students write a complete novel? Try out a creative writing challenge from the Young Writers Project or offer your students one of these fun writing activities. Check out TED’s How to Tell a Story playlist with students. Have students use a first-line generator to start a story or use images to teach creative writing. Many fun creative writing activities are available for elementary, middle, and high school.
Whether you celebrate creative writing in your classroom with NaNoWriMo or other fun activities, give your students the time to write! TeachersFirst offers resources and blog posts to help you bring writing to your classroom. Happy NaNoWriMo!