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Community Manager at Edutopia

I'm huge fan of the Office of

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I'm huge fan of the Office of Letters and Light, which is the nonprofit that puts on NaNoWriMo. They've done tremendous work to inspire young people to write.

Director, Antioch Center for School Renewal

This: "4) Join them in the

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"4) Join them in the challenge.
The first week of NaNoWriMo, I put the opening page of my own novel-in-progress on the board for my students to read. I wanted to share something I had discovered in my first day of writing: when I had one of my characters slam a door, it gave me an idea for a character's flashback to her father, who never slammed a door. This quick lesson taught my students about flashbacks, but also showed them that their teacher was writing and learning along with them. Our principal even joined us, sometimes bringing her laptop to our classroom to write with us. We were all "writing buddies" on the NaNoWriMo site, which meant our students could see our progress (or lack of it) throughout the month. Suddenly our writing looked nothing like "school work" and more like a community of writers: adults and teens, struggling together on a very real-world kind of writing."

I think there's nothing more powerful than modeling your writing process. I took (and taught) countless writing courses over the years, but I really *got it* when one of my instructors wrote publicly- she showed us her drafts, the revisions she was making, and discussed her choices with us. Then we took turns doing the same- writing and writing and writing (a la NaNoWriMo) and then taking a single sentence out of that draft and using it as a starting point for a whole new piece, Powerful stuff. Thanks for a great post Laura!

Reading Specialist from Hellertown, PA

That is amazing! I want to

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That is amazing! I want to try this with my Reading students at the Community College I teach at. What a wonderful way to get students to really write! Thank you for sharing this.

I have a website to recommend for the elementary aged kids, which may get them prepped to undertake NaNoWriMo when they get into middle school. The website is called Cubert’s Cube and is a fun one for young writers. I tried it with three of my four kids this summer. It is colorful, user-friendly, and has game-like story starters. Your students will not have to worry about writer’s block. There is also a gallery where the kids can draw some pictures to illustrate their stories. When they are through, they can publish their stories on the site if their teacher wishes. The teacher has full reign over the security of his/her students, which is an important factor for online safety.

7th and 8th grade LAL teacher from southern New Jersey

Very inspirational!

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Great article, Laura. I'm very grateful for the advice, and really hope to do this with my 8th graders this year.

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