Monday, August 12, 2013

NANOWRIMO for Young Writers

About this time last summer I suggested a looksee at NaNoWriMo’s Young WritersProgram  because there you can find BRILLIANT ideas to help budding wordsmiths grow good stories. A little about the program, directly from the website:
 ·        NaNoWriMo is run by “The Office of Letters and Light,” a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Berkeley, CA
·     The Young Writers Program was founded in 2005, in response to the countless teachers who wrote in wanting to bring noveling to the classroom.
·        The Young Writers Program provides free Common Core-adapted curricula and student workbooks for all grade levels, as well as classroom kits to all educators teaching the program. Kids and teens also participate independently through our motivational, community-based website.

If you’re a classroom teacher, I’m guessing the “free” and “Common Core-adapted” bits have got your attention. And those are good things! But, really, it’s the innovativeness and sense of fun in the lesson plans that are apt to brighten these last hazy weeks of summer, whether you’re planning fall classes or looking for something creative to do with kids around a kitchen table. Here is the link to the lesson plan portal: Note that curricula are stored in Google Docs, which makes it all very easy. Common Core connections are listed at the top of each page. One of my favorite plans is “How to Write Really Good Dialogue,” for upper elementary students (Lesson Plan 11), but you’ll find your own faves, for sure.
If, while meandering this path, you find yourself longing to do some writing of your own, don’t miss the quirky and cool resources for grown-up writers on the main page ( NaNoWriMo’s novel-writing months have produced a lot of published books, many a total surprise to their creators! 
Case in point: The first draft of one of my YA novels (Four Things My Geeky-Jock-of-a-Best-Friend Must Do In Europe, Darby Creek 2006) was created during a NaNoWriMo binge one fall. I never imagined that something written in 30 days could end up in bookstores, libraries, book fairs, and now on e-readers. 

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