real writers write with a purpose, and part of that purpose is to share their writing with others. the habits we teach the writers in our class are the habits of real writers, and so we try to help guide them toward sharing their writing with others by creating opportunities for them to do so.
of course, we also provide plenty of time to share writing with the writers within our room, too. there are some structures and routines that can be put in place to help this happen.
here are some of our favorite ways to help our writers share their writing with an audience outside of our classroom:
- find a special bulletin board. during our journalism unit, we give students a place to hang their published pieces and rotate them on the daily, since news stories are time-sensitive. the bulletin board we used was in the main hallway of the school, rather than right outside our classroom, and once we set it up, students were motivated to get new news stories up there (since no one wants to read old news!). knowing the entire school, and any visitors, could read their pieces stepped up their editing game and made publishing exciting.
- hang published pieces around town. this is something we learned from cornelius minor. at the beginning of the year, we ask local businesses if we can have some space for our writers’ pieces to hang. in our town, we ask a restaurant, deli, and local bookstore, and they are all so accommodating and excited to host our kids’ pieces. we then ask for parent volunteers to help hang the pieces. at the end of each unit of study, we hang a copy of the students’ published pieces around town. we made a schedule to rotate where the pieces were hanging, so that we are sure everybody’s pieces move throughout the year. we found stapling a plastic page protector sheet to a piece of construction paper effective for hanging. as you can imagine, kids love working on a piece and knowing that anyone may end up reading it. (throughout the year, we also add QR codes next to the pieces, so the readers of the pieces could see a video of our six word essays or hear the authors reading favorite lines or their about the author that goes with the piece.)
- publish book reviews on a class book review blog. the blog is posted on our class website so that it’s accessible to anyone who visits, and is also linked to our school library so that students across grade-levels can use our reviews when choosing books from the library.
- invite others into the classroom for a writing celebration. while we don’t do this for every celebration, as it does require some additional preparation and practice (and, let’s face it, time is not on a teacher’s side), kids love inviting guests to writing celebrations. it gives them a chance to rehearse their writing and to practice speaking in front of a group of people in a more formal setting (CCSS speaking and listening standard 1), and creates opportunities for additional reflection on the entire unit that may not happen otherwise. when we host this type of celebration, we like to make space for kids to share about their writing process and the strategies they learned across the unit, as well as time to share and receive feedback on their published pieces (compliments only at this point, since it’s a celebration of published work). we aim for one celebration like this each year.
how have you helped your students share their pieces with different audiences? we’d love to learn from you!