George Lucas Educational Foundation

Share your ideas for publishing student writing!

Share your ideas for publishing student writing!

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I know that students are often difficult to motivate, especially for writing.  I learned that by blending my workshop, I could create more time for students to publish creatively.  This was a motivator!  One of my favorite publishing formats (more importantly my students loved it) was using a green screen and camera to record what they had written about. They turned their "paper piece" in to a live presentation and were able to share it with an authentic audience. Getting my students to draft and revise became less of an issue because they wanted to use the green screen and record themselves when they were finished. They wanted to spend the extra time revising and editing so that it was picture perfect. 

Share your top ideas for publishing student writing.  


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Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT's picture
Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT
Middle school English/Digital Design/Broadcast Media teacher

Joanna, I love this idea of having students record what they have written! Publishing is a great motivator, but that green screen and eventual video are especially exciting for students.

I like to have my 8th graders publish small pieces of writing as well as total drafts. For instance, they'll choose one powerful line of figurative language from a longer piece they're working on, write it on a big strip of paper, and then post on a bulletin board. And I think it makes a difference to have them put it on the bulletin board instead of me -- feels more like them doing the publishing.

I also love student blogging as a form of publishing - and I've heard students say over and over how much more they proofread when they know their peers will see it online! Blogging also allows for publishing of thoughts, reflections, opinions, etc., as the medium is used for such a wide variety of personal writing. Plus the feedback option is so great via blogs.

Another fun way to publish is to give students opportunities to read aloud in a public space, like a bookstore, library, coffeeshop, or school gathering. They gain so many other skills at the same time: writing an introduction to their excerpt, public speaking, etc.

The most exciting form of publishing my students have done is with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). After writing a novel in a month, students have the option of continuing to work on their novels the rest of the school year and then self-publish via CreateSpace.com. Talk about real-world writing/publishing! I have an Amazon list of novels my former students are now selling there:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/listmania/fullview/R3IWOK0I7X0W4E

Thanks for getting this discussion started! Looking forward to hearing what others say.

John S. Thomas's picture
John S. Thomas
First & Second Grade Teacher/Adjunct faculty Antioch University New England, former Elementary Principal

Authentic audiences really motivate students. My 2nd and 3rd graders were really motivated a few years back about a bear unit we were doing. They wrote letters to the editor about bear safety and we sent them to newspapers throughout the state of NH. My students also worked with a local newspaper to write articles about events happening in our school which appeared in the paper.

writewithjoanna's picture
writewithjoanna
I am passionate about sharing resources, tips, and tricks about how to engage writers! I am a blended learning enthusiast.

I totally agree with you! Authentic audiences make a huge difference in student motivation. Whenever possible we should find authentic and meaningful opportunities for student publishing and sharing. This could be writing to our classmates, community, or even a global audience of some kind. I think that blogging is a way to incorporate this on a regular basis.

writewithjoanna's picture
writewithjoanna
I am passionate about sharing resources, tips, and tricks about how to engage writers! I am a blended learning enthusiast.

I have used several blogging platforms. My new favorite is such a winner! I am wondering if you have tried writeabout.com for your older students? It's amazing for blogging and writing, best of all it includes opportunities for writing to global audiences. You can also use voice recording! Very cool.

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