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  • Mallory G Foster

Month in Moments - November '20 Edition


Happy Halloween All! We are gearing up for a wild week with Fall Back and a critically important election, yet I hope you have time to take a look at this month's Month in Moments calendar - it's the one I'm SO excited about - it's all about National Novel Writing Month!

BUT, first things first, please make sure you have voted or are ready to vote on Tuesday! Plan to help someone else get to the polls or get their ballot submitted if you can. If you want to stockpile some great books to read, I suggest The Breaking News by Sarah Lynne Reul and The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld. Need someone to talk voting with? Feeling worried? Shoot me an email at mallory@watchwonderbloom.com.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming... this month's calendar! I love the tagline for National Novel Writing Month's Young Writers' Program: Your Story Matters. As an educator, I know that when we know our students' stories, we can teach them better and they learn better. And, I know how vitally important literacy skills are. As a mama, I know I'm going to hear stories whether I want to or not... I might as well assist HG in making them meaningful! As a family life coach, I love sharing tips for writing and story-making together because it is an affordable, accessible task that can just be plan old fun and playful with the right approach. Our kiddos are already ready to play like authors and illustrators and have us affirm that their words, stories, illustrations, and ideas matter and are interesting. You can read more about why I love NaNoWriMo here. Now, let's jump into what we're looking at this month!



On Day One:

Grab a notebook or sketchbook. Let your kiddo decorate the cover. Choose favorite pens and a place to write. Put your pens in a jar in that area and put your notebooks there each evening. Join my group using these directions:

  1. Head over to NaNoWriMo's Young Writers' Program site here.

  2. Sign up and use this code: LTDGYHKZ. A dialogue box will ask if "Blooming Writers" is your group, that's me!

  3. Finish making the kiddos' in your life their accounts. You'll want one for each kiddo and will need different emails for each... that's the clunky part. If you need work-arounds, let me know.

  4. Once you're in, you'll see a box on the left side of your dashboard that says, "Accept Challenge". Select, "Yes, I accept" and you can name your novel, choose a word count goal, and more! I suggest choosing that you'll manually enter word count - OR you can type the story your kiddo's share with you. Trying to determine your word count goal? Here are some tips: For pre-writers (roughly ages 2-5), ask your kiddos to draw or tell a story. Write the story the share. Count the words. Multiply that by 15-20 (however many days you'd like to invite your kiddo to write in November), and that's your goal! HG told me a story that was 80 words long. That took A LOT of focus, so I cut that in half, multiplied that by 30 (we are going to *try* to write every day), and got 1200 for our goal. For beginning writers (roughly ages 4-7), ask your kiddo to write/scribble a story. Count their words (ask what a scribble or invented word means as needed). Multiply, there you go! For confident writers (roughly ages 6+), ask them to write for 10 minutes, multiply, and there's your goal!

  5. Looking for ideas? I will share weekly challenges, tips, and ideas in the NaNoWriMo classroom. Download the Month in Moments calendar below! Want more support? Join me in the Bloom Classroom's Google Classroom where I post weekly learning challenges, story time yoga, and more! This will be a fun way to share stories, boost community and learn together! DM me (on IG @watchwonderbloom) or email (mallory@watchwonderbloom.com) if you'd like some details about that.

  6. FINALLY! If you'd like some writerly swag, I have a few stickers from NaNoWriMo that HG and I would love to share! Shoot me an email (mallory@watchwonderbloom.com) with your address if you'd like some writerly awesomeness. And, I'll be posting pics of our class's story progress poster throughout the month of November. I will use novel names or initials to protect the privacy of our authors. If I know your IG handle, I'll tag you :). Follow along at @watchwonderbloom.

Make yourself a reminder to add your kiddos' stories to the NaNoWriMo group at the end of each week if you'd like to track words digitally. If you don't want and are using the classroom, you can send me their word count and I'll add their progress to my poster (my email is mallory@watchwonderbloom.com).

Go ahead and download your Month in Moments Calendar here!
HG's Purple Bunny from last year

Week 1: Start Your Story

In the first week of the month, you're invited to look through favorite stories and notice story parts. In my virtual classroom, The Bloom Classroom, we looked for characters, setting, and plot (beginning, middle, and end). We'll use inspiration from our favorite stories to start planning our own! With little ones, I suggest writing a story about a favorite toy or about themselves. Last year, HG wrote about Purple Bunny who is back in action this month, covered in glitter from adventures in a magical forest. This year, my NaNoWriMo calendar includes a question each day (except the first day). The idea is that with younger kiddos, you can ask this question and they can draw, tell, or scribble their response. Their responses, compiled, might create a decently cohesive story (but... do not worry at all about the story being cohesive!!! Characters may change, worlds may make no sense except for to your kiddo... it's all alright! It's the practice and presence that matter :). For older kiddos, these questions might prompt entire paragraphs or chapters of a story! Let them run with it and don't worry about sticking to the exact questions - these are simply a starting place. Last year, my go to question with HG was, "What did Purple Bunny do today?". Here's a sheet you can use to start planning your story!

Looking at story parts together

Week 2: Set the Scene

After getting introduced to key characters in your kiddo's story, this week jump into the places of the story and the special doodads, trinkets, and snacks the characters love. Characters will adventure to an interesting place and something they care about will go missing - all to warm up those story-telling and writing muscles! Drawing a map of the characters' home will definitely be handy for this week AND it boosts spatial perception and STEM skills :). HG and I had a blast making a giant story board and some puppets to go with her story! We rolled out some butcher paper and used random art materials we had on hand to draw and collage different story scenes and settings. Then, she drew her characters and I cut them out and put them on tongue depressors so they could be puppets. Doing this is a fun way to let HG play with her story and then tell it. With older kiddos, invite them to write their story as a graphic novel.

Week 3: Exciting Events

The middle of the story is when things switch from normal to exciting, adventurous, or even scary! This week, kiddos will play around with taking their characters on a mini hero's journey as they approach the climax of their story. They can even play around with foreshadowing. The idea for one day this week is that the character bumps into a mysterious character and gets some clues about what's next! This is a BIG concept for little ones. SO, perhaps setting up a scene with a toy or puppet similar to the characters in the story and a random other toy with a clue or warning like, "All the cheese in MouseTown will go missing tomorrow!" could help!



Week 4: Resolution/Refine and Publish/Share Your Story

After a big adventure, the main character's head home. One thing HG and I noticed as we looked at a few of her favorite childrens' books is that most books end with the characters feeling happy, or at least small happy. How do the characters in your family's stories feel? After we wrap up writing our stories, we'll edit them. Ask your kiddo to stick a sticker on their favorite and least favorite page. Work to change the least favorite page. If they love everything they create, you could ask them some questions to dig deeper on a scene to practice the revision process. Then, work on binding and illustrating your final story! If your family gathers with friends and family this week, invite your kiddo to share their story in a way they feel comfortable with!

Week 5: Share Your Story

I would LOVE to see the stories the kiddos in your life create! If you haven't added their story each week in my NaNoWriMo YWP group, you can do that now OR you can take pictures and email them to me (or you can scan them and make a PDF to email to me - whatever is easiest!). I'll type your story if you haven't so you can get the official NaNoWriMo word count. Finally, I totally suggest asking your writers to "read" their story on video and send it to grandparents, friends, etc! It's such a fun way to have an authentic audience that boosts pride and confidence and assures young writers that they are just that, writers!


Looking for even more writing resources? I have a folder that includes last year's NaNoWriMo-inspired calendar too - it's a bit more crafty and intricate - perfect for older writers! And, NaNoWriMo has workbooks you can download too and some neat online events. Be sure to check out their store if your kiddos get really hooked on this, they have pretty snazzy shirts :).


Alright! Happy Writing! I cannot wait to hear the stories your kiddos tell and write! Share the progress by tagging me in pics on IG (@watchwonderbloom)!


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