Questions & Authors: Showcasing Student Work

April 22nd, 2009

Sharing and showcasing student work is an important part of the writing process, according to Ann Marie Corgill, author of Of Primary Importance: What’s Essential in Teaching Young Writers. She shares some of her classroom publishing strategies in the latest edition of our Questions & Authors series.

Publishing means many things to writers and writing teachers. To me, publishing simply means “going public” with your writing, and there are so many ways to support young writers as they publish and celebrate their writing and illustrating work. Publishing—and the celebration that goes along with it—is one giant step in the writing process, and possibly the most important part for the children. The pieces of writing go forth into the classroom, the school, and the world and become a representation of the reading, topic selecting, conferring, rough-drafting, editing, revising, talking, sharing, rewriting, and reflecting work that we do across the days and weeks of a study. So much teaching and learning about writing is held in those pieces, and that writing deserves and audience and a celebration.
Here are a few tips for celebrating and showcasing student work:

Make Time For Daily Sharing

Make Time for Daily Sharing

Young children will thrive as writers if they can count on daily responses to and celebrations of their work. So often writing share is the first thing to go when time is short in an already packed school day, but having this routine consistent and built in to the writing workshop block will provide multiple opportunities for student sharing and the class:

  • to learn how to give and receive comments to a piece of writing
  • to synthesize and share writing conference highlights and bring that teaching out into the classroom
  • to gain confidence in writing and illustrating abilities
  • to speak about the work that writers and illustrators do
  • to seek help and suggestions for a particular piece of writing or a part of the process that may be challenging for the writer

Bring The Teaching Out Into The Room

Bring the teaching into the room

One simple way to honor the work of a writer is to showcase writing conference teaching points throughout the room. This is a great way to have your conferring impact all students and is a great way to engage the class in the learning of one writer. Pretty soon the walls of the classroom become covered in teaching and learning about writing (or reading or math or science or social studies)—depending on which conference teaching points you decide to share.

Think Big
Think Big

Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine how a tiny piece of writing can grab the attention of a reader or can truly represent the hard work that went into writing and publishing. During our poetry studies, when the writing isn’t long and doesn’t fill several pages, we use our illustrating abilities to support the writing and create “poetry posters”. These posters give student writing a “grand and colorful” feel and can bring the dull and lifeless walls of a school to life. Think big when publishing and celebrating student work and fill your school walls with the work of your students.

Use Previous Artwork In Publishing

Use previous artworkA few weeks ago, my first graders created gorgeous artwork with markers and the raindrops of a February thunderstorm. After we hung these pieces in the room, I heard a couple students talking. “My art looks like a picture book cover!” Hmmmmm….

Thanks to my students, I learned that previous artwork might become the “seed” for a writing project. Some of my students are now using this artwork as the cover of the next picture book they’re writing. This is just a reminder to me as their teacher to keep my eyes and ears open for ways to publish and showcase student writing.

Chart Comments from A Real Audience

Chart Comments from a Real Audience

This week a second grade teacher in my school shared a realistic fiction piece that her class had written with my first graders. My students were delighted with the story, clapped when the story ended, and immediately burst into conversation about Rocket’s Bath. And I couldn’t just let that be the end of this “publishing and celebrating” experience. We decided to chart our comments and send them to the class of second graders so that they could hang our responses in the classroom alongside their published piece. Thanks to Mrs. Collins and her second graders for sharing an amazing piece of writing and for reminding us all that written comments from a real audience can inspire young authors to “keep writing!”

Show Children That They Are Doing The Work Of Real Authors

real authors

It’s especially important when students write to remind them that they are doing the work of real authors. One way to send that message to students is to find perfect places in your classroom library to house student writing. If students see the books they write surrounded by the work of the authors they read each day, they will come to believe that their own writing is always written for a purpose and a real audience.

Entry Filed under: Questions & Authors,Writing

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