When I was a kid, my favorite teachers were always the ones who made me feel like they really understood me. Subject had nothing to do with it. The one thing they all had in common was that they took the time to figure out how to connect with me and my fellow classmates. I trusted them enough to feel like I could talk to them when I needed to, and when I did, they made me feel heard. It motivated me to do my best and believe in myself. For that, I’ll always be grateful to them.
Today, I’m thrilled to be helping teachers connect with their students in a very unique way—through the power of publishing. A classbook project can bring you and your students together in a way that few other educational experiences can. It’s easy to organize and a ton of fun, not to mention incredibly rewarding for both you and your students.
Learning from Each Other
A classbook project is not just a chance for your students to learn and grow, but also a chance to teach each other (and even you!) new things, too. Brainstorming together allows your students to share all their best ideas and gives you the chance to show them how much you value their input. Peer editing lets your students learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses. And of course, publishing a book is an incredible learning experience for teachers and students alike—especially if it’s your first classbook project!
Most importantly, being open to learning from your students motivates them to push their own creative boundaries. Connecting with your students should be a two-way street, one which encourages your students to learn and to express themselves. It also makes you a better teacher—after all, the more you know, the more you can teach!
It’s no secret that storytelling brings people together. Humans have been bonding over tall tales since the very first campfire story. Classbook projects are the ultimate classroom campfire story. Writing a book gives your students an opportunity to tell a story that matters to them. Publishing that book gives them the means to share their stories with the world.
It’s also a chance for you to share stories of your own. Maybe you’ve published a classbook before. Now is the perfect time to share what that previous project taught you, or how amazing it felt the moment your students’ finished books arrived. Sharing with your students is every bit as important as allowing them to share with you.
Of course, the stories your students will publish aren’t the only stories a classbook project produces. The actual process of publishing a book is an amazing journey. It’s the best kind of story—the kind you get to experience and bond over together. And it’s one you’ll be telling for years to come.
While becoming published authors is the ultimate goal of a classbook project, it’s not the end of the journey. Being published is a phenomenal accomplishment, one you and your class should be proud of. Be sure to celebrate it! A publishing party is a fantastic way to have fun and connect with your students, and it’s easier to plan one than you might think.
Even if you’re not up for a party, you can still celebrate your young authors simply by taking a few moments to acknowledge what they’ve achieved. When their books arrive in the mail, take that moment as an opportunity to share a very special moment together. Look over your newly published masterpiece and read passages, or even the whole book, out loud. Talk with your students about how it feels to be published. Take your time and enjoy it!
The Inspirational Power of Publishing
To me, there is nothing more inspiring than helping students become published authors. Every child deserves that opportunity—and so does every teacher. Not only is it a fantastic creative learning experience, it’s also the perfect chance to reach out and connect with your students. It helps you to learn and grow together, trade stories, bond over festivities and build a sense of trust and understanding. Publishing their work will reinforce that trust and understanding by showing them not only that you care, but that you believe in them.
Ready to take the National Book Challenge with your class? Publish your unique book with us by June 30th, you will automatically be entered into the contest to win up to $5,000 in prizes. It’s that easy! Check out the contest page to learn more.