In my presentation to teachers of English (that's what we call Literature Studies in Australia) today, I suggested incorporating NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program as a class project. In Australia it is exam time, so I would do this with the year 7-9 class.
This project would be a perfect way to finish off a unit outline on creativie writing. I would not put too much emphasis on word count and would ask for a minimum of 5,000 words (with no maximum). Sounds too short to publish? No. I'd gather the stories together, once we've edited and polished, and print them in an anthology.
As a way of tying the stories together, I suggest writing in one genre - I choose Fantasy. This is welcomed by most students because it gives them a lot of freedom and includes magic or supernatural elements. For our class project I suggested we use a common world for our stories to take place.
The class brainstorms ideas for all the type of characters that could possibly be found in fantasy stories and all the elements found in fantasy worlds (such as dragons and castles). Kids will have loads of ideas for this.
I would then have the class collaborate in creating a map of the world - where will everything be located? And we could name our characters. Students can write about any character they want and create their own story set in that land.
Put your students into small work groups of about four. During November, the students can have time in their groups to bounce ideas off each other and after November they can critique and help edit each others work.
Shared editing is a great way for kids to learn grammar.
After November, once the stories are edited, they can be published together in an anthology of Fantasy tales and sold at school for fundraising (the kids can even become part of the marketing process).
Thank you NaNoWriMo for inspiring me with my favorite lesson plan so far!