A Recipe for a School-wide Writing Celebration
- Students from all classrooms in the school, with a favorite piece of writing in any genre
- Steps for preparing for the writing celebration, written out for students to see
- A large space like a gym or cafeteria or several classrooms
- Writing celebration chart(s)
- Compliments forms
- Cards with group numbers written on them
BEFORE THE CELEBRATION
- Set a date and time toward the end of the school year for a school-wide celebration.
- Invite teachers and students from every classroom to participate in the writing celebration. Visit each classroom, generating excitement and letting students know when the celebration will be happen.
- Prepare students for the celebration, either on the same classroom visit as above or a different one. Set students up for success by sharing the following:
- Choose a piece.
- Fix it up.
- Practice reading it with a partner in a nice, clear voice.
- Practice giving compliments to each other. (Students will each give the other group members a compliment on the day of the celebration.)
- Prepare student groups. Each group should be comprised of at least one student from each grade level, and should be no bigger than six. An ideal group would have one student from grades K – 5, for example. Be sure the groups are numbered.
- Ask teachers to double check the groups to ensure there are no grouping issues.
- Prepare a compliments form on which group members can record compliments for each other.
- Gather the oldest children and let them know that they will be recording compliments for the younger children. Let them know as well that they should help to facilitate turn-taking and keeping the group moving at a good pace.
- Create a celebration chart.
ON THE DAY OF THE CELEBRATION
- Prepare the room or rooms by setting out numbered note cards so children can easily find their groups. Place some compliments forms and a pencil at each spot.
- When the children arrive, welcome them to the celebration. Congratulate them for all of their hard work, and remind them how much they have grown as writers. Point to the chart, and remind them that they should read clearly and slowly, and give them a few prompts to use when complimenting each other
- Circulate as children are reading, help them to compliment each other well, and congratulate yourself and all of the teachers for a job very well done.