I have come to believe that the last step of the writing process is the most important. Teachers often skip it or only do it halfway. Really it’s not any teaches fault, it’s a lack of time to get everything done and pressure to ensure your students perform well on tests. But by skipping any part of publishing and sharing our students are missing out on meaningful learning opportunities.
Did I Share and Publish Students’ Writing in My Classroom?
My personality is always on the go. I don’t take days off from working on my online business (even holidays) or running (even if I’m hurt). I constantly push to do more and get the next thing done. There are times that my personality is a strength and helps me accomplish a lot. There are also times that it holds me back.
As a teacher, I can get so caught up in the hustle of getting the assignment done and checked off that I miss the part that is most beneficial to my students. I collect their “published” writing assignment so I can get to work grading it. They are getting the assignment checked off their list instead of really learning. However, I now know that I need to breathe and reassess how I am teaching publishing and sharing.
Why Teachers Don’t Share and Publish Students’ Writing
I know that every teacher has gotten caught up in the classroom hustle. I think it’s part of what makes teachers who they are. If we don’t move the class onto the next step then no one else will. But the last school I worked in was a private school. In that school, there were no state tests to prepare for. We could take our time with each assignment and make sure our students were really learning from our lessons. Being told I can do this and actually doing were a challenge for me. After a lifetime of hustling, it’s hard to change your mindset to quality of work over quantity of work.
Don’t you think your students are going to do better on state tests if each lesson is meaningful and impactful? They will remember more because they took more time to think and learn the material than they would if we rushed to the next unit. We don’t want to bore them with repetition, just make sure they are actually learning.
What Does Share and Publish Students’ Writing Mean?
Publish means to produce and release for distribution. It is also described as making a public announcement or making something generally known. Writers publish their thoughts and ideas. Once the writing is published it’s available to the world if we let it be.
Share is to experience or enjoy together. It’s also described as telling thoughts, feelings, and experiences to others. If we give the opportunity to practice sharing our students will eventually learn that sharing is when they can share their thoughts and enjoy their writing together.
We often get students to finalize their writing and turn it into the audience of one, the teacher. Taking time to share their work when there are so many standards to teach is hard, But by not completing the final step of the writing process or completing it in a dull and tedious way we are doing a disservice to our students. We can share and publish students’ writing in new and inventive ways that will change how our students view writing in the classroom.
10 Reasons That Explain the Importance of Publishing Student Writing
- Students write for a real audience – not just the teacher.
- Students learn their ideas are impactful, interesting, and meaningful to others – they have something to offer their communities or the world.
- Students learn about world rules – like following directions and deadlines.
- Students become more engaged in the process – they have creative enthusiasm to produce their best work.
- The classroom roles change – you are no longer the judge, but the coach who will train them to win.
- Students learn to take themselves, ideas, and work seriously – they have valuable thoughts to share and their self-esteem grows as a result.
- Students use what they learn in a real way – possibly in the real world.
- Students build perseverance to keep writing and let go of fear.
- It prepares them for the future – they will know how to share in college applications, careers, and beyond.
- It can change their lives – they may see themselves and the world differently.
Ideas From Other Teachers on How to Publish Students’ Writing
Sharing is Impacted by What Students Write and How We Publish Students’ Work
In the publish and share step of the writing process the two words work together to describe what students will do. Most teachers are much better at publishing student work than sharing it. But having students produce writing without enjoying it with others isn’t very meaningful.
It’s time to make sure we are completing this step of the writing process in full because it will truly benefit our students. How we publish students’ work will impact how we share it. There are so many ways we can publish students’ work in this modern world and some are simpler than you might think.
First, you must tell students how they are going to publish and share their work from the beginning of the writing project. The publication process is going to impact their their motivation, effort, perseverance, and confidence while they work. Here are some great ideas for how to share and publish students’ work.
- Publish Students’ Writing with a Publishing Party
Professional writers celebrate finishing and publishing a piece of writing that they’ve worked hard. They might open the box of print books together, have a reading at a local book store, or go on a book tour. It’s a big deal to finish a piece of writing for publication because there is so much work put into it.
We should celebrate student work in the same way. Use the library, gym, or cafeteria to host a publishing party for your students. Invite other classes, parents, any local authors that might live nearby to come to the event. You can get as fancy as you want with this event by using decorations, author’s biographies, special seating.
If you wanted to take it a step further you could partner with a local bookstore for a publishing party or author reading. It would involve more planning and permission slips, but your students and their parents would remember it for the rest of their lives.
Sounds like fun right, but here’ the thing. You must tell your students about this event before they start writing. Students need to know that they are writing for a real audience rather than just you. Hopefully, students will be more engaged in their writing as they follow each step of the writing process.
- Publish Students Writing with an E-Book
E-books are amazing because all you need to do is print or save a file as a PDF in pretty much any program. If you are already going to have students type their work then you can have them create an E-Book out of it too. It can be put on websites, shared on Google Classroom, or another classroom tool. It’s a simple way to share work and send it outside of the classroom.
Don’t forget to have your students create a cover, author’s biography, and summary for their book too. Include a page of publishing information to make the book legit. Students of all ages will love to see their work become an e-book.
- Publish Students’ Writing by Creating a Hard Cover Book
Technology offers so many advantages and opportunities, like creating a hardcover, bound book. The art teacher at my school did this with the kindergarteners once. My school had an office dog named Riley that all the students love to pet. And if Riley’s owner Betsy went to deliver a message then Riley might go find her. The whole book was written about Riley looking for Betsy in the school and all the trouble he got in.
Betsy loved the book and so did all the visitors who came to the office. Many of the parents ordered a copy to bring home too. The students published a real book that was read by many people. They worked hard on it. There are several companies who will do this for your class.
I haven’t personally used any of these so I don’t have a top recommendation for you. But if you use one let me know what you think.
- Publish Students’ Writing on Class Website or School Website
Most classrooms have a website now, and if you don’t then maybe this will be your motivation to create one. Putting your students’ work on a website so that parents and family members can read it would be so nice.
My parents try to attend, watch or talk about everything their grandkids do. They love to watch the bad school plays, help with and hold onto science projects about ketchup and support the kids in everything.
Imagine if you send out an email blast after each publication, or had your students send an email to their families including aunts and uncles. They would have a family audience to read their work.
- Publish Students Writing with Google Classroom to Make E-Portfolios
Artists, writers, and other creatives create a portfolio of their work to share. They take some of their best pieces of writing, poetry, and drawing to gather into one place. It makes it easy to share their work with a gallery or potential job. Students can create a similar portfolio on Google Classroom. Simply set up that heading and add assignments for students to complete. You could also have students create a google website so they can manage their E-Portfoliio.
I love that this method of publishing and sharing allows them to practice the real-life skill of building a portfolio.
- Publish Students Writing Through Writing Contests
There are so many writing contests online that you can have your students enter. Some organizations have a plan of which writing contests they will run each year. Students could be published or win a cash prize for their writing. Here are a few sites to consider for writing contests:
- Creative Communications
- New York Times Learning Network
- Scholastic Writing Contest
- NCTE Writing Awards
- Skipping Stones Youth Honor Awards
- Publish Students’ Writing Using Apps
Technology for the win again. There are apps that make it easy to publish student writing. Then your students can share their work with the world. Here is a shortlist to check out.
I’ve never done app publications myself, but kids love their phones and tablets which could help them become fully invested in this project.
- Publish Students’ Writing With a Poetry Slam
I love the idea of writers writing and sharing work at a cafe or nightclub. It is my dream to have students participate in a poetry slam. If you want to learn all about poetry slams read my article 7 Helpful Tips to Bring
You don’t have to stick to just a poetry slam. You could host a poetry or writing cafe or open mic night. These are all closely related, but the focus is on sharing and enjoying finished written work. Tell your students about your plan at the beginning of the assignment. You can get as fancy as you want with decorations and setup. Invite an outside audience to the cafe to listen to your students’ writings.
If setting up isn’t your thing then maybe you want to have your students go to a real cafe in the community. It could be a fun partnership with a local business. A field trip like this would take some planning and permission slips, but it would be memorable.
- Publish Students’ Writing with Specific Projects
I know students need to be able to write a five-paragraph essay, but essays get dull and tedious quickly. Your students will be better writers if they are more invested in the project. All of these projects have the same idea behind them. Creating real reading to be shared with the school or world. You can try different ones throughout the school year, especially when you need a break from essays.
- Book for a preschool, daycare, or someone else
Try your very best to give up control and let these projects be student-driven. Try to be their coach instead of their judge, and they may just surprise you.
- Share and Publish Students’ Writing by Send it to People
Image your students write a story about their birthday and send it to a nursing home or the armed forces. The recipient gets to read it and remember when they were a kid, their kids growing up, or what they are fighting for. We can send more than thank you letters overseas. We can also trade work with other classes and other schools so that our students’ work is written for someone besides the teacher.
Maybe you get your students to write a more powerful persuasive essay by telling them they are going to send it to someone who can help. They could send it to a politician but it could be another person who is passionate about the topic and has some influence. Your students could also send their essays to someone who is on the opposite side and try to persuade that person to change their position.
Letter writing is the exact type of writing you would like to send out to someone. Writing letters is a real skill your students will need.
A few ideas of where to send student work:
- Armed forces
- Another class
- Another school
- A nursing home
- Essay to someone of influence
- Letter to celebrities
- Letter to authors
- Letter to penpals
- Letter to someone important
- Letter to a government official
You can mail out all kinds of student writing to people around the world, not just letters. It’s a great way to share students’ work.
- Publishing Students’ Work to Share Within the Classroom or School
Pair and share is a great method of sharing for a quick activity or a last-minute need. There are so many other ways we can have our students share their work with each other. Let’s make publishing and sharing a lot more fun by putting a great twist on it.
- Pair & Share
Pair and share if you haven’t heard of it is when you pair students together and have them share their thoughts and work. There is nothing wrong with this method of sharing published work except it gets repetitive and boring. Use it, just not for every assignment.
- Book Tasting With Student Work
A book tasting is when students read a little bit of several books and look for ones they like. Or you could have them look for a specific example of something like a simile. In this sharing activity, students read just a little bit of a classmate’s work. Students could read to enjoy or look for the specific skill the class has been working on. I think most teachers set a timer so students know when to put down a paper.
- Print a Class Magazine
Any time your students are working on the same type of assignment you can publish their work in a class magazine. This might be better for one or two-page assignments. You can create a magazine cover (or have a student make one) like Rainforest Animals and have everyone contribute. Be sure to include magazine attributes like headings, pictures, and captions.
- Sharing Musical Chairs
This is especially great for fidgety kids because they get to move between reading papers. Students leave their papers on their desks. You play some music and when the music stops they read a paper. You might want to say the paper on your right or left to be specific and keep them guessing. You could include a feedback form if you want.
- Poster Sharing
Often times our mini-lessons have the goal of helping students work on a specific skill they need or that has been weak. Have your students review some of their writing and pick out their best hook, transition, conclusion, simile, or anything else you can think of. They will share this one sentence or maybe paragraph with the class. Having them put that sentence on a page in large font or print makes this sharing activity a celebration of the skills they learned too. It’s like a writing brag board and they should brag about the progress they’ve made in writing.
- Speed Dating Sharing
Maybe your students would want you to come up with another name for this, but the idea is that one set of students stays put and the other set of students moves. This way students get to share their work for something like 3 minutes each and move on to another person. Students get to read several papers in a short amount of time and without presentations.
There is a similar morning meeting game like this where students stand in an inner circle and outer circle and only one circle moves. My students loved this game and it works for writing too.
Displaying student work is a classic method of sharing student work. The catch is that you need to let students have time to read each other’s work. Some teachers like to set up a permanent place that each student can hang their work. After each assignment or when they are very proud of their work, they can switch it out themselves.
- Share Published Writing with the School
When I found this sharing idea I thought it was a little crazy, but it also depends on your school and students. Talk to your admin and see if you can have a student share some of their writing every week or every day. They would only share a few sentences that were spectacular. It will get students used to sharing their work with a big audience.
12. Publish Students’ Writing in the Real World
Our students often think that they aren’t going to use the skills we teach them in school in the real world. But they will and we can show them that now.
You could partner with a local restaurant for a field trip and have students write reviews about the food. They should be able to write descriptive sentences explaining their opinions. The owner might even be willing to pick some for display.
You could buy some things off Amazon and have students write reviews for the products. This is a great opportunity to practice descriptive writing for the real world. You could post it online for real or you could simply use it as an exercise.
Just this past year my mom was telling me about how she was scrolling through the comments of her favorite fabric store when she saw a comment from her sister. She thought it was so cool to see her sister’s comment online.
I know these two activities could get complicated to plan and do, but it would be meaningful writing for your students.
13. Create and Publish Students’ Writing Assignments that Leads to Sharing
Sometimes the assignments we give our students lend themselves to sharing in a specific way. It’s a great and easy method to put these assignments on your curriculum map to ensure you don’t default back to tedious sharing methods. Here are a few quick and easy ones.
- Write about a location in school that has a special memory and post the published assignment there for others to read.
- Have students write a guide for the school with tips and information that will help new students. Place several copies of this guide in the office for use.
- Write about a mentor or role model. Once the writing is finished invite that person to school to hear the piece.
- Have students pick a family member to write a memoir or biography about. Invite that person to hear the published piece.
Last Tip About How to Share and Publish Students’ Writing
Some of these methods for sharing students’ work are complicated and you need to make sure you are following all the rules of your school. Student work is protected by copyright and in some places FERPA, a federal privacy law. Depending on how you are going to publish students’ work be sure to make sure that you have permission from either the school, parents, or both. Check-in with the administration and get permission slips if needed.
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Here is Your FREE Prompt for Writing Poetry
I know that you needed a prompt to help kickstart your students’ writing. Here is an entire lesson for FREE. My Our School Poem guides students through using sensory language to describe their school. The step-by-step directions guide your class through the writing process with all the necessary worksheets make this the perfect lesson for your classroom.