In my most recent post, "Student-Published Writing Celebration," I describe what writing celebrations look like in my literacy classroom. But the saying that a picture is worth 1,000 words really rings true here. Being able to see the actual process brings the words and descriptions to life. In the video below, my students demonstrate the celebration process, the setup of materials, and the student participation. Mobile users can view the video here.
As I reflect back on the writing festivities that I have been a part of throughout the years, I notice certain changes that have evolved that have raised the bar. For instance, input from my students is encouraged as to how they would like to celebrate their work — this reinforces that the celebration honors their hard work from generating the idea, to the words on paper, and to finally creating the published piece.
Clear Expectations — Students need to be mindful that they are commenting on the work of a fellow classmate. Not only is the work being celebrated, but also, the author will become a better writer when given respectful and honest feedback. Comments need to be on what was truly done well and what needs to be improved.
Room Layout/Space — Make sure that there is enough room for the participants to move freely to view the writing. If you are inviting guests, encourage the students to make invitations and decorate to welcome all who enter.
Time — Consider how much time you have for your celebration. This will determine how many writing pieces each student may be able to comment on or the number of pieces to be read to your guests. For our informational unit, the students wrote chapter books and will be responding to a chapter instead of the entire book. This way the author has the opportunity to gain insight from several readers.
Food! — Having a little something to nibble may boost the attendance for your invited guests. And what student doesn’t like to have snack in class!
Pearls of Wisdom — This is a tip from one of my colleagues, Traci Jones. She has a writing celebration called “Authors Mimic.” She highlights the student composition that incorporates the technique from an author taught in the unit. Displaying the work on a document camera, students are able to see exemplary work written by their classmates who were successful with the skill.
Do you have any celebrations that work well with your class? Please share!