National Novel Writing Month – Turning innate ability into bold talent…

Sure, a little wordy, but after rewatching Paul Allison’s Teachers Teachers #416, where I had to leave due to the horrible connection I had, I realized, there are so many things that seem insurmountable that once we actually conquer, we become better and stronger for it – National Novel Writing Month is one of them.  Let’s first pick out a few highlights worth looking at in this session if you had not had a chance to view it-

Sheri, Tommy, Karin and Paul brought various aspects to how NANO was used in their classes, and deviations away from a standard use which was even better.  I like the fact that Chris Baty’s book, No Plot No Problem is available, as it does lend courage to those that feel they need to be armed to the hilt before diving in.  Not so, even Karin mentioned about at 18:00 in the program, (thanks Karin!) that I referred to Chris saying that actually, the busier you are the better it is to be in NANO.  When you think the opposite would hold more sense, it is like stage fright, or something you feel you will be better for doing but are scared or reluctant, diving in you reap the most rewarding feeling and don’t let yourself back out for 101 reasons why you could.

I like the references to educational pedagogy Sheri refers to, from Peter Elbow’s approach to writing, writing, writing for ten minutes solid and not letting the pen/pencil, whatever!, drop for the whole time, and if you run out of ideas, you keep repeating the word over and over until something new pops in but JUST…WRITING…which in turn, DOES help the writer recognize how many words they can churn out in a power writing situation.  I LOVE the fact that Peter Elbow is truly set inside a model for improving writing, within NANO – all true, all true.

I like how Tommy on the show also had each student take a portion, and all combined, they combined the individuals stories as one, and made 50 000.  I like that idea alot.

He went on to say that is was not about “…writing abilities but that they wanted to participate – some will have 300 words, some will have 3000 – this varies by talent – you just need enough students to have energy”.  I would also agree that some of the participation comes in what you cannot measure, which could be the discussion and thought that goes into how stories will overlap, as well as characters and plot.

Tommy also goes on to refer to The Realm of Possibility, a  book where each chapter a different perspective – each completely different. Add to that his reference to the film, Valentine’s Day, which also depicts the various stories being told and aligns with what students can do as well.

At 37:41 in Allison’s episode is an aspect I find very cool – how NANO aligns with Common Core and the tools available on the NANO site that provide educator -aligned tools – and High School – from rubrics to plans to ideas that do satisfy the state Common Core while allowing the energy and creativity to flourish, which is why I love NANO so much, it is multi-faceted in what you put in and get out.

I like how there is further info on NANO on Digital Is, and just type in NanoWrimo to get this important tool as well.  The topics of editing and self-publishing also come up, which is generously encouraged with the several sponsors that align themselves with NANO to allow this in the chance to sell the work on Amazon as well as receive a published version when completing the goal for November.

It is vital to remember that NANO also has a script-writing venture in April available, which I LOVE that an alternative format exists for those individuals, which I see as a challenge for myself in a distant future, lol.

What I love about Paul Allison’s segments are there is usually a tie and more than one topic that connects with the educational topics presented.  This edition goes on to talk about how K12-On Line Conference began and the content of this.  Actually I am off to view some of the K-12 On Line Conference segments after this!  With keynotes lasting about 15-20 minutes, I find the K-12 On Line Conference one of the most professional, and powerful Professional Development opportunities available.  You get so much and in a brief time that allows comprehension.

Turning to National Novel Writing Month, all I can say is I am PSYCHED.  I do see my schedule so so full, and yet it was last year and I found, NANO is one of the biggest excuses to carve time out for yourself – explore talents you do not know are lurking, and overall, enjoy the ride especially when you do not know where it is headed.

The tools and tips I have linked to in the past two blogs pale in comparison to the actually meeting of people in write-ins, virtually, and more, and you grow as a person in so many ways.  After doing this for four years, there is still the sense of nervousness I get, similar to lining up to every starting line of 5k’s because it is something I love to do – and I know because I STILL GET NERVOUS.

I have so many ideas for stories, putting myself in the skin of a student that goers international from all his years in a public school setting, portraying the student/individual/adult that has always been an introvert and putting himself in the middle of situations that are totally opposite to his nature, and I am curious to see what authors Adi Alsaid and Scott Westerfeld have for this round of NANO as well.

At ASF, we will be celebrating November 3rd, since November 1st is a Saturday but what better night to be online, with a few hundred of your favorite people venturing out into your first words that became ideas and putting them into the site for NANO 2014.  November 3rd will be a breakfast for participants and those that are willing to sign up, complete with Pan de Muerto, lots of coffee water, and inspiration in our Upper School 1st floor lounge.  Unless you realize how limited the opportunities are for adults to participate alongside students and both are on a mission to succeed – I would say this becomes the perfect classroom/laboratory in November to such a thing.  As a result, we will grow together, yet all differently.  I hope each of you will venture out of your comfort zone November 1st and give this a whirl, I will be right there with you!

About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
This entry was posted in Chris Baty, Digital Is, NANO, No Plot No Problem, Paul Allison, Peter Elbow, The Realm of Possibility, Valentine's Day and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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