Quality Writing Comes When Students are Invested in their Projects

A few weeks ago we talked about audience in Christi’s second grade workshop. During sharing, students sat in a circle and each shared the audience for their current WIP. When it was Allie’s turn she said, “Eve Bunting because I want to write a book like her.”

This was a very different answer than her classmates, whose audiences were family members and friends. To help Allie feel more secure in her choice, Christi and I encouraged her to consider writing a letter to Eve Bunting and let her know how she has inspired Allie.

By the next day, Allie decided she was going to write a book for Eve Bunting, inspired by In the Haunted House. Before sending it, I scanned the book and asked Allie to read it into the digital voice recorder.

As you know, I’ve been playing with video this year, so I decided to take the images from Allie’s book and her voice recording and put it together.  I just cracked open Lisa Miller’s new book, Make Me a Story, this week. After reading the first chapter, I realized this is a form of digital storytelling. (You can read the entire text online here.)

Today in writing workshop we talked about focusing on quality instead of quantity in writing. We shared Allie’s story with the class. It gave students a new energy for writing and their work became more serious because they were focused on creating a quality writing project.

Allie’s energy for this story came from wanting to write it for Eve Bunting. She worked on it during writing workshop, recess, and at home. She was eager to send it in the mail. So before workshop I scanned her story (in order to give her the chance to get it ready for the mail during workshop). During quiet writing time in workshop, Allie edited her capitalization. Unfortunately the images are from before the edits, so you’ll have to trust me that she edited the names and beginnings of sentences for standard capitalization.During workshop, we recorded her story. Then we prepared the envelope for Eve Bunting. Inside she included a letter and her book.

Below is The Ghostly Scary Mystery by Allie Haberman.