NaNoWriMo with mostly sixth graders is a truly unique experience. They start out thinking that they should have a word count goal to rival the adult sized 50,000. Then it hits them that they have to work hard to get anywhere close. And when even the ones who write nonstop during their waking hours – annoying all but their wonderfully encouraging English teacher (haha – ’tis I, ’tis I) – realize just what 30,000 words has to look like as a daily goal, they start to freak out just a little bit. And the ones on the other end that realize their dreams of fan fiction stardom still include – gasp! not plagiarizing someone else’s work- and actual writing an original idea about the characters they love so, it can get to be a fairly sticky wicket.
On the other hand- they are writing – without me having to threaten bodily harm (who me? Never!). It’s a beautiful thing.
What I’m learning:
- Word wars work
- Allowing secret stashes of food for writers is engenious
- Earning Badges for crazy mad writing skills is one of the coolest motivators I’ve come across in the educator forums
- Having “old fashioned,” no-tech allowed writing days, keeps the slackers in PE and keeps their negativity from invading the writing space of the tried and true (because skipping PE to predend to write isn’t cool guys – and while your crashy road score is your highest priority, it isn’t helping your brain or your body like what you should be doing will).
So that’s where we stand so far – trying to hit our first ten percent on word counts and finding the motivational secrets to good writing habits. I’ll keep you all posted.