• 25 Oct
    Print pagePDF pageEmail page

    The nights are drawing in ever earlier and cutting wintry winds send us scurrying inside to steaming mugs of hot tea, big woollen jumpers, and a cascade of blankets so it’s the perfect time to inside of getting caught up in a good book and to try writing one of your own!

    NaNoWriMo image

    NaNoWriMo is national novel writing month where the goal is to complete 50,000 words of a book during the course of November and they run a Young Writers Programme to boot.

    You can find out more about doing NaNoWriMo in the classroom and the plethora of resources available in our blog post from last year: “Sparking Creativity in the classroom with the NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Program“.

    October marks the time where NaNoWriMo participants across the world start doing the prep for writing their novel in November – things like doing research, coming up with an idea and characters, and getting an outline together so that once November hits you can jump right in to get your 1667 words a day done.

    How can BrainPOP help with NaNoWriMo prep in October?

    1. Take a peek at BrainPOP’s Famous Books and Authors section for a bit of inspiration from the masters and their work, from Roald Dahl to Lord of the Flies to Agatha Christie there’s a bit of everything.

    Maya Angelou

    Maya Angelou

    2. Brush up on writing skills that you’re not confident on like writing dialogue, creating the right mood and tone, or making sure you remember to show not tell with topics from our reading and writing section. Getting confident with these skills ahead of time means you’re less likely to get frustrated while getting down your 1667 words a day and you’ll have to do less revisions when you’re all finished.

    3. Check out our Creative Writing Spotlight if you’re not sure what you need to improve on to see what gaps in your knowledge and skills you have. It’s better to find out now that you’re not sure what a cliché is when you have plenty of time to remind yourself!

    4. If you’re doing research and you’re not finding what you’re looking for or don’t know how best to keep track of all that new knowledge use resources like our Information Literacy Spotlight and our Revving up your Research Skills blogpost and poster to help get the most of your planning time.

    Creative Writing

    5. Check your grammar skills with BrainPOP’s grammar section so you don’t spend precious time trying to remember whether you’re supposed to use a semicolon there or if you’ve used that apostrophe correctly. It’ll also make things much quicker when you get around to redrafting after November!

    6. Get organised with our graphic organisers! Use BrainPOP’s creative writing graphic organisers like story mountain, circles story map, and character map to make your ideas easy to reference when you need them and make sure you’re clear on what the plan for your story is.

    7. Use our outlines and concept mapping topics to help you with the brainstorming process to help you find your idea and then refine it into the best it can be!

    8. Remember to take breaks and have fun! If you get stuck or frustrated during your daily writing session taking a 5 minute break to watch the BrainPOP featured movie keeps your brain in gear so you can easily get back to work but also gives you enough of a break that when you go back to writing it’ll be full steam ahead!

    Let’s get those creative juices flowing!

    Related Posts:

    Tags: , , , , , , ,

  • 27 Oct
    Print pagePDF pageEmail page

    It’s nearly November and aspiring novelists all over the world are getting ready for this year’s NaNoWriMo, but what is it?

    NaNoWriMo image

     

    In a nutshell it’s National Novel Writing Month (get it? Na-No-Wri-Mo), where writers commit to writing a 50,000 word novel… in a month. That seems pretty unachievable at first but that’s actually committing to writing 1667 words a day for 30 days; which sounds a lot less intimidating.

    You don’t have to write a 50,000 word novel. It could be 50,000 words worth of short stories or a novel that keeps on going, anything you like really. And it doesn’t really even have to be 50,000 words.

    The spirit of NaNoWriMo is to set a writing target and stick to it.

    RoaldDahlScreenshot2

    So why participate?

    • It helps to create a good habit – sitting and writing for a certain amount of time a day – even if it’s just to free write or write in a journal is almost meditative and a good opportunity for self-reflection. Plus we live in such a busy world it’s important to regularly seek out a bit of calm.
    • “Winning” NaNoWriMo by managing to complete your goal gives you a nice rosy glow of success.

    prize

    • You learn to do instead of procrastinate. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of something and just never get past the planning stage. For many writers with a loud internal editor it can be hard not to obsess over every word. But when you have a strict goal you have to meet you have to force yourself to just write, and leave the editing for after.
    • You get to actually make something, even if that something is just for you.
    • You get in touch with your imagination. You don’t have to make a masterpiece to achieve something with NaNoWriMo; sometimes it’s just about kick starting your creative side.

    Imagination BrainPOP UK Topic Screenshot

    • If you get a team together or join one online you can make it a collaborative experience.
    • During the edit, it’s a good opportunity to improve your grammar knowledge and writing skills. Especially if you’re using software like Scrivener which can tell you just how many times you wrote particular words and phrases you tend to overuse.

    How can you use NaNoWriMo in class?

    tim writing

    NaNoWriMo actually has a Young Writer’s Program(me) and although it’s American and aligned to the Common Core standards it has a lot of great resources and information that you can use in your classroom to get your students writing.

    You can even connect with other classes doing NaNoWriMo all over the world!

    Some Useful Resources to get started with:

    • NaNoWriMo’s Virtual Classroom can help you facilitate with your students such as tracking their progress and can help you connect to other classes all over the world
    • There’s an educator’s forum where you can share ideas and get help
    • There are workbooks and lesson plans that you can use to get ideas. (Although they’re American a lot of what’s in them is very transferable and some other educators in the forums may already have UK based lesson plans.)
    • This word count calculator is really useful. Sometimes you just can’t get your words done on a particular day and this tool helps you adjust your target as needed so you don’t need to panic!
    • NaNoWriMo pep talks written by successful authors (including authors who write for children and young adults such as Holly Black) are great for a bit of inspiration. This past one by Neil Gaiman is a particular favourite.
    • You can even get help publishing your student’s work when they’re done!
    • Downloadables such as this progress poster and these participation and winner certificates.

    And there’s loads of BrainPOP UK resources that can help your students if they’re struggling with their writing as well:

    Roald Dahl

    Happy writing!

    Related Posts:

    Tags: , , , , , , ,

  • 24 Sep
    Print pagePDF pageEmail page

    This month’s Spotlight is “Creative Writing“, where we’ve handpicked a selection of our finest writing topics such as Idioms & Cliches, Writing Dialogue, and Mood and Tone to help support and inspire young writers.

    BrainPOP UK Creative Writing Spotlight

    But what does every writer desire? A reader. A chance for someone else to fall in love with their words.

    So in the spirit of helping young BrainPOP writers find an audience and hone their skills we’ve highlighted 3 different creative writing challenges below. Each is free to enter, has lots of support for teachers and students and will offer inspiration by the bucketload. Good luck everyone!

    Wicked Young Writers Award – http://www.wickedyoungwriters.com

    Wicked Young Writers homepage

    “The “prestigious Wicked Young Writers’ Award” (The Times) was established by the long-running musical Wicked in order to link the important messages of the production with a competition that would inspire young people to use their writing to look at life a little differently. The Award recognises excellence in writing, encourages creativity, and helps develop writing talent in young people between 5-25 years old from all backgrounds and areas of the UK & Ireland.”

    This is a chance for your work to appear in a printed anthology, receive a certificate from the Duchess of Cornwall, and meet Michael Morporgo! If that doesn’t get your creative writing muscles twitching we don’t know what will!

    100 Word Challenge – http://100wc.net/

    100WC homepage

    We ask children to write in school but often there is no apparent purpose that they can see other than pleasing their teacher! This can prompt some very reluctant writers in our classrooms. The 100 Word Challenge seeks to address this problem. It is a weekly creative writing challenge for children under 16 years of age. Each week a prompt is given, which can be a picture or a series of individual words and the children can use up to 100 words to write a creative piece.

    This popular blog based writing challenge is a particular favourite of BrainPOP and runs every week. We think it’s a terrific way for young writers to get their work read, commented on and critiqued. It’s easy to enter and very popular. What are you waiting for? Go and tell your teacher about this right away!

    NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program – http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/

    NaNoWriMo homepage

    National Novel Writing Month happens every November! It’s a fun, seat-of-your-pants writing event where the challenge is to complete an entire novel in just 30 days. For one month, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create! That means participants begin writing November 1 and must finish by midnight, November 30. The word-count goal for our adult program is 50,000 words, but the Young Writers Program (YWP) allows 17-and-under participants to set reasonable, yet challenging, individual word-count goals.

    This famous NaNoWriMo event for adults has been running for many years. This is the version aimed at children 17 and under. It’s as much about the challenge of writing a novel in 30 days and the energy of the community that supports the activity that makes it so exciting. It also has lots of great resources to improve your writing.

    Related Posts:

    Tags: , , , , ,