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So, your class has decided to join the 400,000 other writers on six continents around the globe. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)– where writers strive to write 50,000+ words over thirty days. That’s a lot of writing for any one of your students, however, if you combine the writing power of your entire class, reaching 50,000 words is definitely attainable and COW is here to help!

Here are a few tips to help you and your class conquer what we’re calling the NaNoCOWMoo Challenge.

1.  A Giant Thermometer

We’ve all seen those giant thermometers used by organizations during fundraising campaigns. They’re big, they’re bold, and they’re a constant reminder of a goal. Create a large NaNoCOWMoo thermometer and place it in a prominent place– how about right outside the classroom door? That way, everyone in the school who walks past your classroom can see your class’s progress and maybe even offer words of encouragement!

2.  Plan Out Your Sessions

Yes, 50,000 words sounds like a lot of writing, even for an entire class. That’s why it’s helpful to break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks and plan the writing sessions out. You’ll need 12,500 words a week. If you have two writing sessions per week, that’s 6,250 words a session. For a class of thirty students, that’s 208.333 words per session. (Okay, let’s round it to 210.) Now, that’s manageable! You might want to build in a couple of extra sessions just in case. You never know when an alien invasion or an infestation of flying elephants may get in the way of your class writing time.

3.  Celebrate Milestones

Have short term goals of 10,000 words, and each time the class reaches this benchmark, have some sort of celebration. It doesn’t have to be anything big (although a marching band showing up at your classroom door would be pretty exciting). Short, attainable goals can build into the achievement of reaching the ultimate goal of 50,000 words.

4.  Write Fearlessly with Imaginations Unleashed

To get your students writing up a storm, remind them that they are working on what is essentially a series of first drafts. Their goal in each writing session during the NaNoCOWMoo Challenge is to generate ideas, turn those ideas into words, and get those words onto their screen. This is not the time for revision. That can wait for December. During November, they are to  engage in the drafting stage of the writing process. This means writing fearlessly, with their imaginations unleashed!

Yes, 50,000 words over thirty days is a great challenge. Yet, like most daunting challenges, the rewards are great. At the end of November, you and your students will have a vast reservoir of writing to draw upon to revise and refine. In addition, their proverbial writing fluency muscles will be finely tuned, giving them the confidence to forge ahead and tackle other class writing tasks.

Best of luck on your NaNoCOWMoo Challenge!