How to Celebrate Student Writing with Publishing Parties
There Destiny stood, all of four feet tall, holding a single piece of paper tightly in her hands. She smiled proudly, anxiously awaiting her audience members’ attention. She gently brushed her freshly curled hair away from her face and carefully groomed the front of her dress as if to smooth away any lingering wrinkles.
“Writers,” Mrs. Burns announced enthusiastically, “please give your full attention to our author, Destiny.” Destiny’s classmates sat quietly, their hands folded neatly in their laps, eagerly and patiently waiting for her to begin.
Destiny postured, drawing her shoulders back, her chin up, and her paper closer to her face.
“How To Throw a Party,” Destiny uttered.
“First, hang balloons.”
“Next, wrap presents.”
Destiny’s voice grew louder and her stance even more self-assured as she continued.
“Then, bake the cake.”
“Finally, invite guests.”
Destiny lowered her paper, smiled widely and made eye contact with her peers as she announced, “Questions or Comments?”
The hands of 15 kindergartners immediately shot high in the air. Some of them wiggling and squirming with energy, hoping that Destiny would call their name.
“Zahir!” Destiny proclaimed.
“I like the way you put spaces between your words.” Zahir replied.
“Thank you.” Destiny grinned.
“Semaj!” Destiny exclaimed.
“Who have you thrown a party for?” Semaj asked eagerly.
Destiny thought for a moment. “My sister. She’s one!” Destiny answered.
Mrs. Burns walked humbly to the front of the room, collected Destiny’s paper and thanked her for her hard work! “Class, let’s give Destiny a roller coaster cheer!” In complete unison 15 Kindergarten students joined in a cheer to celebrate destiny’s effort, skill and dedication in the Writers’ Workshop, How To Unit of Study!
Destiny smiled, hugged her teacher tightly and skipped to her spot on the rug. She sat proudly, ready to give her full attention to the next Kindergarten author!
What is a Publishing Party?
Students engaged in Writing Workshop generally spend between 4-6 weeks learning and applying different writing skills, strategies and behaviors associated with a particular unit of study. During this time, students have an opportunity to brainstorm, draft, revise and edit their writing in an attempt to make it the very best it can be! In an effort to celebrate students’ hard work and dedication throughout the unit of study, a celebration ensues. This celebration is often referred to as a Publishing Party. The Publishing Party is a time where young authors proudly share their final published writing piece with an audience.
The Benefits of a Publishing Party
- Oral language development
- Reinforces strategies that good writers use
- Highlights ways in which authors write
- Motivates students to work hard during Independent Work Time
- Strengthens the writing community
- Students write for authentic purposes
- Children learn from one another
- Teacher has an opportunity to assesses final pieces
- Teachers gain information about individual student strengths and needs
- Encourages parenteral involvement
- Students gain a sense of pride and accomplishment
- Fosters a love of writing
7 Tips for Throwing a Successful Publishing Party
- Send Invitations: Students generate invitations for parents/guardians, a special family member or staff member in the building (sibling, art teacher, principal etc.)
- Offer Refreshments: It is a party after all
- Dress-Up: Encourage students to get dressed-up or to dress like an author (i.e. boa, scarf, tie or lens less glasses)
- Get Creative: If you have a large class size or limited time, allow for students to share their writing in small groups or in partnerships. You may also consider taking several days for the Publishing Party as opposed to having all students share within one period.
- Decorate: Decorate the author’s chair and/or the classroom
- Opportunity for Anecdotal Notes: Teachers can take the opportunity to provide students individualized feedback. While students are sharing their published pieces, the teacher can jot a quick note highlighting praise and a future goal for each student.
- Display Student Work Proudly: Hang students’ published pieces on a bulletin board or somewhere in the classroom. Place your post-it note with feedback on the students’ work!
While the publishing party and “tips” described above are full of splendor, it’s important to remember the ultimate goal. Publishing parties are designed to celebrate student writing and can be done without any fanfare at all! In fact, some of the most cherished publishing parties are those thrown without special invitations, decorations or even refreshments! Instead, students are filled with a sense of pride simply from sharing their work with their writing community; their classmates!
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