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."