November is NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month with a chance for students and adults to write a novel in a month.
NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program makes this goal accessible for K-12th grade students.
What five technology tools can make the experience more accessible (and enjoyable) for students? Here are recommendations from Joseph Hutcheson:
- By using The Most Dangerous Writing App, students will enjoy the joys and challenges of freewriting (thank you, Peter Elbow!). According to a review on The Verge, the free app “lets you jot down words of any fashion in timed increments ranging from five minutes to an hour. If you stop typing, however, all progress is lost. . . . It definitely works so long as you’re willing to write some pure nonsense in the event nothing of substance comes to mind.” Pretty cool.
- Do you have budding illustrators in your classroom? Canva offers easy-to-use design tools to help students draft comic strips that could end up creating impressive graphic novels. This tech tool provides a different path to publication, proving that there’s not only one way of participating in NaNoWriMo.
- For formative checks, Hemingway provides students with quick feedback on a few key elements of writing. This is a great tool for the early chapters of their NaNoWriMo writing, especially when students are still developing their voices. Perhaps a student’s contribution to NaNoWriMo could be a collection of short stories, just as Hemingway did with his collection of Nick Adams tales.
- I’ve always loved E.L. Doctorow’s quote that “writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as the headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” That makes a lot of instructional sense, but there are other ways of looking at the creation of a novel. If you have students who want to see beyond the headlights, Visme allows students to create an entire timeline of their novel. The available infographics make it visually appealing, and teachers can quickly see gaps in the narrative plotline (and head off potential pitfalls that could derail a student’s enthusiasm about NaNoWriMo).
- Going back in time, could your classroom be a way to explore the past means of writing a novel? Check out this article about the resurgence of typewriters and realize that most students in K-12 schools have never seen an actual typewriter in action. Buying a refurbished typewriter and bringing it to your classroom may make for a great conversation about technology and the writing process.