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November 23, 2017

Celebrate Budding Authors: The Writing Feast

By Juan Gonzalez
Grades 3–5, 6–8

    Who doesn’t enjoy a celebration? Especially when the festivity honors the hard work of blooming authors? When planning writing units, celebrations are my favorite to create because it gives writers an audience.

    During the fall, I host a gathering called The Writing Feast. This is a celebration that brings all of the third grade writers together to “feast” on each other's work.

    Materials  

    This celebration was for our work in narrative writing but can easily be used in all writing genres. A couple of weeks prior to the celebration, I reach out to friends and colleagues and ask to borrow the supplies we need.

    These are the items I ask for:

    • Charger plates
    • Fall table covers
    • Fall/harvest decorations

    Other things you'll need:

    • Student writing
    • Compliment sheet
    • Clipboards
    • Snacks (optional)

    The Set Up

    The tables are set to look like a dinner table. Each student gets their own placement. We also distribute a snack during The Writing Feast. There are cups of trail mix at each table setting. We made the cups of snacks prior to the feast to help with time management. The students simply pick up a cup and travel with it as they read.

    There are no chairs at the tables because the students will move around frequently during the celebration. This makes the transitions between the pieces much easier.

    The charger plate is used to display a piece of writing and a compliment sheet for each author. Students rotate around the tables, reading the writing pieces and using the compliment sheet to leave their supportive remarks.

    Prior to starting the feast, I talk with my students about turning off their critical eye. I do this because we spend time in workshop looking for ways to make writing better, but this is not the purpose of the celebration. I tell my students that the goal is to honor the hard work of writers and lift each other up. So when they are complimenting, they should consider answering the following questions:

    • How did the author make you feel?
    • Why did you enjoy this writing?
    • What did the author do well?
    • What questions do you have after reading?

    The Writing Feast

    Once it’s time to begin the Writing Feast, we bring out the classes and model our expectations. I show them how to pick up a piece of writing, how to use the clipboard, and how to move around the celebration.  

    Finally, we send the scholars off to read and magic happens. The students begin to laugh, share, and connect in meaningful ways. I especially love the moments when I hear students say, “I didn’t know you had a pet!” or “You are so funny!”. After hearing those comments, I see the authors perk up a little taller. It's an amazing moment to witness.

    Not all writing celebrations have to be this detailed but I make sure to have at least three big celebrations a year. I see how hard these kids work in Writing Workshop and I want to honor them. I also staged this celebration right before Thanksgiving break. Celebrating our work before a holiday break is perfect way to channel everyone's excitement into productive activities.  

     

    If you are reading this post during the month of November, I wish you a relaxing and happy Thanksgiving. If you are reading this outside of November, I wish you continued gratitude!

    Stay connected with me and my teaching life on Instagram! @Teaching3rdWithMrG

    Who doesn’t enjoy a celebration? Especially when the festivity honors the hard work of blooming authors? When planning writing units, celebrations are my favorite to create because it gives writers an audience.

    During the fall, I host a gathering called The Writing Feast. This is a celebration that brings all of the third grade writers together to “feast” on each other's work.

    Materials  

    This celebration was for our work in narrative writing but can easily be used in all writing genres. A couple of weeks prior to the celebration, I reach out to friends and colleagues and ask to borrow the supplies we need.

    These are the items I ask for:

    • Charger plates
    • Fall table covers
    • Fall/harvest decorations

    Other things you'll need:

    • Student writing
    • Compliment sheet
    • Clipboards
    • Snacks (optional)

    The Set Up

    The tables are set to look like a dinner table. Each student gets their own placement. We also distribute a snack during The Writing Feast. There are cups of trail mix at each table setting. We made the cups of snacks prior to the feast to help with time management. The students simply pick up a cup and travel with it as they read.

    There are no chairs at the tables because the students will move around frequently during the celebration. This makes the transitions between the pieces much easier.

    The charger plate is used to display a piece of writing and a compliment sheet for each author. Students rotate around the tables, reading the writing pieces and using the compliment sheet to leave their supportive remarks.

    Prior to starting the feast, I talk with my students about turning off their critical eye. I do this because we spend time in workshop looking for ways to make writing better, but this is not the purpose of the celebration. I tell my students that the goal is to honor the hard work of writers and lift each other up. So when they are complimenting, they should consider answering the following questions:

    • How did the author make you feel?
    • Why did you enjoy this writing?
    • What did the author do well?
    • What questions do you have after reading?

    The Writing Feast

    Once it’s time to begin the Writing Feast, we bring out the classes and model our expectations. I show them how to pick up a piece of writing, how to use the clipboard, and how to move around the celebration.  

    Finally, we send the scholars off to read and magic happens. The students begin to laugh, share, and connect in meaningful ways. I especially love the moments when I hear students say, “I didn’t know you had a pet!” or “You are so funny!”. After hearing those comments, I see the authors perk up a little taller. It's an amazing moment to witness.

    Not all writing celebrations have to be this detailed but I make sure to have at least three big celebrations a year. I see how hard these kids work in Writing Workshop and I want to honor them. I also staged this celebration right before Thanksgiving break. Celebrating our work before a holiday break is perfect way to channel everyone's excitement into productive activities.  

     

    If you are reading this post during the month of November, I wish you a relaxing and happy Thanksgiving. If you are reading this outside of November, I wish you continued gratitude!

    Stay connected with me and my teaching life on Instagram! @Teaching3rdWithMrG

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