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Religion & Publishing Celebrations

100_7163Lisa posted a question that really got me thinking about something I’ve never faced in my classroom: parents whose religion does not allow their child to partake in celebrations of any kind. While I’ve had students who do not celebrate birthdays or Halloween, I’ve never had a parent pull a student from a publishing party.

Before I post my thoughts (and ask for yours as comments!), this is what Lisa wrote:

I like that “fancy up” idea.

This actually brings up something I have been working over in my mind. I love the idea of having publishing parties and celebrating the finished product, but this year I have a student in my class whose religion prohibits participation in celebrations of any kind. Any ideas or past experiences that would help? Some of my colleagues say that I should carry on with my program and do as her mother asks: excuse her from these things. However, when I arranged for her to be excused from our Halloween party planning meeting (5 minutes), she was absolutely sure that she should not have to leave. She doesn’t want to be excused, her parents want it. Anyway! What can I call my publishing celebrations, other than celebrations!?

Okay, so some thoughts:
1. I think you do need to respect the parents’ request, even if their daughter states that she’s not supposed to be excused. However, I would suggest speaking with the parent(s) and their child together. I’d mention that “celebrating” each child’s work is one of the most important parts of the writing process. In fact, getting feedback is what the writing process is all about.
2. If you want to change the name of Publishing Celebration to something less festive, then here are some ideas (I’m not in love with any of these names, but I wanted to give you something to work with…):

  • Author Magnification
  • Publishing Commemoration
  • Writers’ Recognition
  • 3. See if you could tone-down the celebrations this year. Perhaps it’s not necessary to serve food and make it as big of a hoop-la as you usually do. This was everyone in your class is involved and included so that it remains a solid writing community.

    Stacey Shubitz View All

    I am a literacy consultant who focuses on writing workshop. I've been working with K-6 teachers and students since 2009. Prior to that, I was a fourth and fifth-grade teacher in New York City and Rhode Island.

    I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).

    I live in Central Pennsylvania with my husband and children. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, doing Pilates, cooking, baking, making ice cream, and reading novels.

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