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NaNoWriMo Reflections


Senior Member
NaNoWriMo -- the month is over half-way over now, and things are I suppose going okay. None of my students are half-way to their goals yet, but we are still writing. One class has over 25,000 words written total; and the other has around 22,000. Technology has been our major stumbling block. Getting down to the computer lab on a regular basis has been difficult; and switching back and forth from paper to computer isn't really working for a number of my kids. I already know that if I chose to get my class involved next year, there's certainly a lot of changes I'm going to make.

For one: <!--break--> I'm going to start sooner. We started on Nov. 6th....the first day of November I saw my classes for language arts. Mini-lessons on brainstorming and story development have been falling flat this month, and I think mainly because they are happening at the same time as our competition for the highest word count. Next year I know it will be better to start our preparation in October. No, we won't start our stories, but we will have time to focus on developing the story line and characters, without feeling like we'll fall behind in our word count goals in the process.

Secondly: I'm really going to have to double-think starting us out in the computer lab. Yes, typing our stories does make it a lot easier to keep track of our word counts, and for many, it is quicker. BUT, it's been difficult working in time to go there. The openings that exist in the computer lab are not always during convenient times for my classes. And even when things do work out, we've run into cases where due to scheduling errors, things have gotten double booked, and even when we think we have a day to go down and work, the room ends up not being empty. A few of my students have been able to switch back and forth easily and there's others who have written on paper from the start, but for the others, it's been a bit frustrating.

Thirdly: Word counts. I'm undecided about having individual word count goals. As I said above, none of my students are half-way to their goals yet. There are a couple who are close, but quite a number who have only about 1,000 words. I like the fact that each of them has an individual challenge, but I'm truthfully a bit puzzled about how to handle the ones who get no where close to their goal at the end. With the exception of one or two, most have been working well -- it's just most of them only put in time at school and getting class time to work (especially in the computer lab) has again at times been difficult.
Most of them seem more impressed with our class totals -- and that's where the most of the competition has been too -- so, sometimes I think going for just a group word count goal would be better. But, I guess, ultimately that's a decision I'll make when the month is over. There is still time for things to change . . .

I know I will have my students complete some sort of reflection when this is all over -- giving them an opportunity to share their thoughts and perhaps suggestions too. And, of course, in the coming weeks, I'll continue to reflect too . . . Otherwise, off to pack . . . plenty to still do before I leave tomorrow afternoon!


Think you participating is great!

I wanted to participte in NaNo's competition, but never got around to writing. That your class is taking part in the competition is fantastic.