Tips for Managing Your Virtual Classroom


  • Any post you "emphasize" in Classroom Discussions will appear in your students' NaNoFeeds on their Dashboards. Just click the loudspeaker icon after you write a post.

  • To make a Classroom Discussion topic educator-only and prevent all students from posting to it, just open up the topic, then click the wrench in the upper right to change the topic settings. To block individual students from participating, use the tools in your Admin area (see below). 

  • You can create new discussion topics using the plus sign to the left, or change the default names by opening the topic, then clicking the wrench in the upper right.

  • Educators can't see the messages students send to each other in Private Chat, but site admins can. If a student is having a problem and you need support, let us know by emailing their username to You can also tell them to screenshot the message if possible. If you like, you can block some or all students from participating in Private Chat by using the tools in your Admin area (see below).


  • This is a page where everyone in your class can see the title, synopsis, and word-count progress of novels—even yours! Only you, as the teacher, can click through and read the actual novels, though. Students can't read each other's, or yours!

  • Can't see any novels here? Make sure you have the correct challenge selected from the dropdown menu. Note: Only official site-wide challenge novels and classroom challenge novels will appear here—if a student is working on an independent challenge novel, it won't show up.


  • Check in on whole-class word-count progress and stats here. 

  • During months without a site-wide challenge, you can create whole-class challenges with whatever length and timing you choose, and invite your students to participate. November too busy? Host your own NaNoWriMo in another month that works better for you! 

ADMIN (AKA Your Control Panel of Unlimited Power!)

  • To block some students from participating in Private Chat, Classroom Discussions, or the YWP Forums, click the corresponding "lock" icon next to their name. You can also unblock them this way. 

  • To block your whole class from participating in Private Chat, Classroom Discussions, or the YWP Forums, click the corresponding lock icon at the top of the columns. You can also unblock your whole class this way.

  • Click the arrow next to a student's name to see the expanded view of their profile and novel, including the badges they've earned for the challenge showing in the upper right dropdown.

  • To change the way students are listed on the page, just click a blue heading. Re-sort them alphabetically by classroom name, or in descending or ascending order of word-count totals, goals, or progress. 

  • If you want to add another educator to your class with the same powers as you (for instance, maybe a literacy coach or a co-teacher), first, have them join your class using the classroom code at the top of the Admin area. Then, once they've joined, click the "key" icon next to their name to grant them all the same educator admin powers as you.

  • Click the title of a student's novel to go to their writing space. If they're writing their novel there, you can read it, but don't read or edit at the same time as them—sadly, we're not Google docs, and you could overwrite their work. You can only see novels associated with the challenge you've selected at the upper right of the class list. That means if a student created a Personal Challenge on accident, it won't appear on your admin screen.

  • You can also award badges manually from the writing space. Just click on a badge to award or unaward it. Note: Students should earn these badges automatically as they update their word counts, but you can also use them however you'd like to in your classroom (for instance, if someone writes over the weekend but doesn't have access to a computer to update their total).

With great power...