Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The NaNoWriMo Beat Goes On

Day 17 and I am at 28,708 words, creeping toward my 50,000 word goal.

Last Friday night we had our first write-in, when those students who wanted to work on their novels came to school and wrote for an hour or two.  There was some writing done, but more talking and snacking. There were even some subliminal messages to the teacher as I passed computer screens.

Today, one of my seventh graders was the first to complete her novel of 5,000 words. The classroom was full of excitement as we watched one of our own succeed. Others have passed the half way mark and are excited to report to me when they reach a new milestone.Student goals range anywhere from 2,000-50,000 words, depending on desire and capability. Most goals are within the 10,000-17,000 range.

Doing the NaNoWriMo project has been rewarding beyond my expectations. Parents come up to me and tell me that their child spends all their free time working on their novel. They are so proud to see their children invested in something huge. Other days the pride is all mine as I see every spare computer chair occupied, even by those kids who don't have my class during that time.They take spare class periods or their lunch hours to sneak into the computer room [my classroom] to work. Sometimes I can scarcely walk through the classroom as students are perched at odd places, trying to get some novel-writing in before their next class.

 The NaNoWriMo people sent us a package of buttons this week. They're proudly displayed on jackets, backpacks and binders.

One month ago, students grumbled when I gave them a one-hundred word in-class descriptive writing assignment. Those days are gone as they realize that I could now give them a 1000 word assignment and they would still be saying, "piece of cake."


  1. AWESOME!!! I think you're the coolest teacher around :)

  2. Linda and Septembermom: Thank you! It's been a fun assignment and I am indebted to the NaNoWriMo people for such an inspirational project.

  3. For those of Randi's peeps that don't really know how wonderful she is should come to the school just for 1 lunch hour and listen to these kids talk about their stories. These kids really do enjoy this assignment. I think it is great when a teacher is daring enough to challenge her students outside of their "norm". She helps these kids reach limits they didn't even think they could. Good Job Lady!

    the woman whose son thinks he's a novelist now.


  4. ekanela: Aw...I'm all weepy now. Thanks for the nice words. The kids have been great about this. They are really a hard-working bunch and that kind of ethic comes straight from the parents. It's been a great adventure, that's for sure!

  5. sooo cool! Of course I'm super late to the post (again).. but better late than never?

    I'm tickled to see you're *so* close to 50,000! Wow.

    Lemmie ask a dumb question, just how many pages is 50,000 words in a "typical" novel?

    P.S. Good luck - you don't need it, but I wanna say it anyway. :)

  6. Daisy: Don't worry about coming late to the post because I've been so lax with posts lately that it's usually a couple of weeks before I get another one up! :) According to the NaNoWriMo site, 50,000 words ends up being roughly 175 pages. I'm doing my work in MS Word which says that for 42,000 words I have 103 computer-sized paper pages.How that translates book-wise, I am not sure.
    Thanks for the good luck wishes! I'm trying to get mine done by Sunday so I can use Monday and Tuesday helping students, so I'll take all the good luck I can get.


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