Celebrating Student Writing: Unique Ideas for the Classroom
Childhood is an exciting time. Everything is fresh and new, and there’s so much unknown out there to discover and explore. It’s a prime time for celebrating firsts—everything from losing your first tooth to your first grade graduation ceremony.
We celebrate these milestones because they’re important to us and to the people around us. They’re markers on the timeline of our lives, and we deserve a moment in the sun to bask in their glow, just as our loved ones appreciate the chance to share in that warmth and enjoy these moments with us.
Becoming a published author is, of course, a major achievement for a writer of any age, but is especially exciting for a young author. Such an accomplishment merits commemoration! A publishing party may be the first thing that comes to mind—but remember, parties are just one piece of the celebration pie. These tips for celebrating your students’ writing are fun and flexible, and can be used either in conjunction with a party or on their own, whatever works best in your classroom!
Get Creative with Classroom Decor
Celebrating your students’ writing doesn’t have to be complicated. Even something as simple as a little change of scenery in the classroom can be a nice, easy way to show your students how proud you are of their achievement and boost their confidence. Even better, it gives your students yet another opportunity to show off their creative sides!
Ask your students to draw and color beautiful posters to “promote” your classbook or any special events you may have scheduled, such as a poetry reading night or a book signing in the library. Post them around your school to get the word out about your young authors’ new book!
Alternatively, if you don’t want to hang or tape up posters (or can’t), ask your students to create flyers to hand out to friends and family instead!
Put Their Work on Display
Don’t let your classbook disappear under piles of papers on your desk or hide in plain sight amid twenty other books on your shelf!
See if you can snag a prime spot in the library to show off your book, or simply clear a little space on a desk or a shelf.
To really make your book stand out, lay down a decorative cloth or paper and set up your book just like they do in the bookstore for hot new releases! You can even add a reading lamp to use as a spotlight if you have one handy.
Bring Their Book to Life
If they wrote a fantasy story, ask them to cut out castles, tower balconies, or forest scenery to decorate the walls, or bring in a real-life (toy) dragon one day to visit! Or, maybe their writing prompt was winter-themed. In that case, try hanging paper snowflakes or tinsel around the room.
Treat Your Published Authors
Being published is a treat in itself—but a little something extra to reward your students won’t hurt. After all, your students have written and published their own book—that’s a huge accomplishment! If a full-blown reading festival isn’t quite right for you and your class, consider celebrating your students’ writing with one of these options instead.
Take a Trip
You may also want to attend a reading by a professional author, to encourage your students to not be shy and share their own work with others. After all, words are best when they are shared!
Meet a Fellow Author
Host an Author’s Lunch
The idea is to get together to talk about your new book over a good meal. See if your students can bring food to make it a potluck, or try and arrange something out of the ordinary with your school’s cafeteria
Invite Parents to Celebrate
Your students’ parents are proud of their kids, too—why not invite them to help your students celebrate their work? Setting aside a special time for your students to share their writing with their parents in the classroom makes both kids and their families feel extra appreciated. These quick and easy tips can help make that experience that much more memorable—without breaking the bank or taking too much prep time.
Make an Official Invitation
Create Name Tags
For name tags to wear on the day of, you’ll want to skip the hassle of finding and gluing bar pins to the backs of the tags by buying a few sheets of blank stickers your students can draw on instead.
Do your students’ parents a favor and record the event yourself and send it out as a ‘thank you’ to the parents after the event.
Inspire Fellow Students
The best thing you can do with your students’ creativity—besides encourage it—is to share it, not just with their families but with fellow students as well. After all, an author’s greatest gift is the ability to inspire others with words—let your students inspire their peers with their words by celebrating their writing with the help of other classes!
Try a Book Swap
Trade books with the other teacher and read the other class’s book with your students, either out loud or individually. Then, talk about their book together as a class.
Mentor Younger Grades
A simple option might be to ask your students to read their book aloud in front of the class. Alternatively, you might team your kids up in pairs or groups with the younger students to read the book together and discuss in more detail what it’s like to become a published author.
Share their Work Online
Authors of all ages dream of sharing their work with a worldwide audience. Make that dream come true for your own students by posting photos of them with their published work online! The best way to do so is through an online community for teachers. Show off your class with their finished product in our Teacher’s Community with other teachers publishing their own books. You may join a closed community only accessible by fellow educators and students, or you can open your photos up to a broader audience by joining an open forum or posting on Twitter using the #proudauthors hashtag.
Celebrating Your Students’ Writing
Publishing is, of course, its own reward. Just knowing that their work is professionally bound, printed and published for anyone and everyone to enjoy is an experience that will stay with your students for years to come. That’s why celebrating your students’ writing isn’t merely about patting them on the back for a job well done—it’s about giving them a chance to fully process what they’ve accomplished. It gives them breathing room between this project and the next assignment to stop and enjoy the fruits of their labors with their fellow authors.
Most of all, it’s about recognition. Treating their classbook as a simple run-of-the-mill assignment can lessen the impact of what they have done when, in truth, your students have crossed a major milestone in their lives. Taking a moment to let them know that you and others recognize this helps them to recognize it for themselves. In many ways, this is the most important part of the publishing process for your students: not receiving others’ acknowledgement, but realizing both what they have achieved and the potential of what they can achieve.